Bulletin Article for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (January 13, 2019)

Hello,

I was walking around the faith formation classes. One of the students said they actually missed me last weekend. I did miss being with you all, but it was so amazing to be with over 17,000 college students who were on fire for Jesus and the Catholic Church. The SEEK conference in Indianapolis was amazing. Again, I don’t know what the future of our individual communities are, but I know the future of the Catholic Church is in great hands. The young people just want the truth. They don’t want things watered down. They love reverence. They love the Eucharist, Mass, Adoration. They want to be challenged to live a life of holiness; not just told they are okay doing the things they are doing. Again, they did two years ago in Austin, TX, the students broke the fire code for the building. There were so many students in line for Confession, they had to ask some of them to sit down because of the fire code. Statistically we are losing the young people. Less and less of them are coming to Mass and being active in a parish. But let me tell you. The ones who are involved, the ones who get it, are going to set the world on fire for Christ and the Catholic Church. It is our job as catechists, as priests, but especially as parents, to raise up the children in our care to be part of the remnant that sets the world on fire for Christ, to have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ, to be a disciple, and to disciple others into a deeper relationship with Jesus.

Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus Christ. It is the last day of the Christmas season. Monday starts the beginning of Ordinary Time in the Catholic Church calendar. Today we hear Luke’s account of the Baptism of Jesus. There are not a whole lot of details. John the Baptist tells the people that he is baptizing with water, but that Jesus will come to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire. Also, in John 3:5, Jesus answers Nicodemus, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” This is why we don’t just do “spiritual baptisms,” but we use physical water when we baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” just as Jesus told the Apostles to do so in Mathew 28:19. 

In Jesus baptism, the water doesn’t wash away His sins (because He has none). Instead of the water blessing Him, He blesses water so that it can be used in our Baptism. In His Baptism, Jesus makes water a blessing to us. Jesus’ Baptism makes our Sacramental Baptism possible.  When Jesus comes out of the water, the Holy Spirit descends upon Him in the form of a dove. A voice from heaven says, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” God the Father says this to all of us because of our baptism. As the parable of the Prodigal Son proves to us, no matter what we have done, we still the son or daughter of God the Father.

May God continue to bless and keep you,

Father Vogel

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Bulletin Article for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (January 6, 2019)

Hello.

Don’t take that Christmas tree down quite yet. It is still the Christmas season. Today we celebrate Epiphany. Epiphany means an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. The Three Wise Men travelled a long ways to discover the Christ Child, the Savior of the World. The Three Wise Men were the first non-Jews to visit Jesus. Jesus came for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles, everyone else. In some ways, it is the Three Wise Men that reveal Jesus to the rest of the world.

The Church of the Nativity in the Holy Land is the oldest site continuously used as a place of worship in Christianity and the basilica is the oldest major church in the Holy Land. It was originally completed sometime between year 333-339. When the Persians invaded Palestine and Jerusalem in 614, they destroyed many of the Christian churches in the area, but they left the Church of the Nativity alone because the painting of the Three Wise Men visiting the Christ Child in the Church reminded the Persians of themselves. 

Growing up, we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Kansas City. When we got back, we would buy a gift or two to exchange with our family. We would exchange these gifts at Epiphany, the time when the Three Wise Men brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. What can we give God who has everything, who made everything? Ourselves. Our lives. Ask not what God can do for you, but what you can do for God. He has given us everything. Our very existence, His love, His forgiveness, His salvation. He just wants us to respond to His love by loving Him back. The greatest gift we can give anyone, God and others, is our selves. As we celebrate Epiphany, give God your life. Don’t ask what do I want for my life. Ask God what He wants for your life. I promise following God’s plan for your life will bring you immense joy.

Peace of Christ,

Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Feast of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph (December 30, 2018)

Merry Christmas!

Don’t throw that tree away just yet!! You probably already did. Maybe it was dry and a fire hazard. Either way, Christmas is not a day, but a season. The season of Christmas ends with the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus, which this year, we will celebrate on Sunday, January 13. So we have almost a half a month left of celebrating Christmas. Even if you tree doesn’t last that long, we should celebrate this amazing season for that long.

I don’t know about you, but I thought all of the Christmas celebrations were amazing. Thank you again to all of those of you who decorated, organized, sang, practiced, etc. to make our celebration as amazing as they were. My parents were especially amazed by the choirs. So thank you. What wasn’t amazing was me celebrating Mass half dead. Thank you for being so understanding. I’m still on the mend as of writing this article. Also, I thought the schedule worked really well. Both the 4 and 6 were well attended. Experimenting with the 10 PM instead of midnight went well too. I think that drew a few more people. 

This Sunday, we celebrate the Holy Family. I always tell husbands if you think you have it bad, just think about poor Joseph. His wife didn’t think she was perfect…she was perfect. And they had the perfect child, Jesus. So that leaves Joseph as the only fallible one. However, that said, even though Joseph wasn’t immaculately conceived, tradition says that he was probably one of the holiest men ever to live. 

However, we must not put the Holy Family just on a pedestal. We must reach out to them and ask their intercession in the workings and well-being of our own families. They are signs to us of what unconditional, free, faithful, total, fruitful love looks like. No family is perfect. However, if we are going to raise up saints, if we are going to become saints, this sanctity, this holiness needs to start at home. We need to strive being saints to one another, especially our family members.

Merry Christmas,

Father Vogel 

Bulletin Article for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (December 23, 2018)

One last blessed Advent, but very soon to be Merry Christmas to you all,

The wait is almost over! This weekend we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Then just two days later we celebrate the second most sacred day of the year. (The first is Easter.) I also know the next couple of days can be very, very busy. Just remember that this solemnity is about love: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16) So remember the reason for the season. Remember to put Christ in Christmas. This is a special time of year. It should be for all of us. But especially for the kids. I was reflecting recently that now that I’m significantly older, my childhood years were a small portion of my life…and yet those years have such an impression on what I think about when I think about Christmas. So parents, I know it is not always easy to get the children from one place to another or to clean up after this or that project or gift making, but just remember the important memories of joy and fun you are creating; memories that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. 

This is a special time of year. We slow down and spend time with family and friends. So put down the phones children, parents, and adults and really interact with each other. Maybe play a board game or spend time singing with each other. Be instruments of God’s love to each other.

God first loved us by sending us Jesus to live and die and rise again for us. Today we celebrate the “crazy” idea that God had to become part of His own creation. As a Christian we forgot how radical this is. This idea is a scandal to every other religion. God is all powerful, outside of time, can be anywhere. God can’t become part of His creation, one of us. Then He would be limited. He would be limited by time and space. And yet, as Christians, this is what we believe happened 2000 years ago.

I pray you and your family have a Merry, Merry Christmas. May God bless you and may you know of HIs love,

Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Third Sunday of Advent (December 16, 2018)

Hello.

Hopefully you are having a blessed Advent season. Hopefully some cookies are been baked and a tree put up. It really is a special time of year. Hopefully the music is flowing. 

As of the writing of this article, it is known that Cleone Clobes’ funeral Mass will be Tuesday, December 18 at St. Teresa’s at 1:30 PM. Wake will begin two hours prior to the Mass. Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon her.

This coming Saturday, December 15, is First Reconciliation for St. Matthew. So please pray for our young people that they make a good confession and they know God’s love and forgiveness.

This Sunday we get to her about John the Baptist. Remember that it was John who leapt in the womb of Elizabeth when Mary carrying Jesus came near. John, from the beginning of his life, herald the coming of Jesus. Today, in the Gospel, John is no longer an infant, but a grown man. Saint Luke records that John went throughout the region of the Jordan river and proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Satan, or ourselves, makes sin attractive. We think that doing something sinful will make our lives better. But usually it makes our life harder after we’ve done it. Jesus came to save us from our sins and to establish a Church that can teach us how to live well. (Unfortunately not always by the example of her leaders, but by the morality and virtue that she teaches.) When we live according to God’s plan, our lives become simpler. Our valleys are filled in. Our mountains in our lives are made low. Our winding roads are made straight. And our rough ways are made smooth. In this we see God’s grace working in our lives. God wants to give us life to the full. He created us. He is an expert in what is best for us. We just don’t always believe and trust that He loves us that much. We figure we know better than God what is best for us. We want to do it our way. But as Catholic Christians, we believe that God’s way is what really is best for us.

Have a blessed second week of Advent,

Father Vogel