Dear Easter People,
Things are winding down for me. MSU had finals this past week so we are starting the summer Mass schedule at the Newman Center this week. We are on our usual schedule here until the first weekend in June. If you haven’t heard, starting June 1, we will have a 6 PM Mass in Mapleton. Then on Sunday, June 2, we will have a 7:30 AM Mass at Good Thunder and a 9:30 AM Mass at Vernon Center.
Do you know the voice of the Good Shepherd? Do you know the voice of the Jesus Christ? In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that His sheep know His voice. It is true we can be inspired by something we see on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, but I believe it is necessary for any Christian serious about becoming a saint, needs to spend time in quiet prayer each day. Elijah in 1 Kings, chapter 19, finally hears God’s voice in a still small voice. This is how God often talks to us…in the silence. Thus, to hear Jesus’ voice, we need to spend part of our day in silence. This is the “secret” that all of the saints talk about in growing closer to Christ. Daily silent prayer is part of becoming a saint. Jesus says those who hear His voice and follow Him, will have eternal life. Again, sainthood isn’t for a few, spiritual superheroes. Sainthood is for everyone. We are all called to be saints. We are all called to eternal life in heaven.
I pray you are having and continue to have a blessed Easter season.
The Church is still celebrating Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus. May we continue to praise God for His divine mercy and love.
This weekend we have First Communion at St. Joseph’s and St. Teresa’s. Next Saturday will be First Communion at St. Matthew’s. Please pray for these young people that they may welcome Jesus Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity into their bodies and hearts in a radical transformative way. We all need to pray, including me, for the grace never to take for granted the Eucharist. We receive it so often – a lot of us every week; some of us every day – so it is easy to take for granted that the Creator of the Universe comes to us under the appearance of bread and wine. Sometimes we think it would be cool to be a disciple of Jesus 2000 years ago. It must have been amazing to see Jesus, to hear Him speak, to interact with Him. And yet before the Resurrection, only the Apostles at the Last Supper were able to take Jesus into their own bodies. In receiving the Eucharist into our bodies, we are closer to Christ, we are more intimate, than the disciples were 2000 years ago. What a great gift the Eucharist is!!
This weekend, we hear Jesus give Peter the chance to redeem himself. After being a coward and denying Jesus three times, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. St. John records that Peter got distressed that Jesus would ask him a third time if he loves Him, but Jesus knew that Peter needed to make up for the three times he denied Jesus. Jesus also knew that Peter needed to say and hear himself say that he loved Him. Jesus is so good to us. He gives us not just what we want, but what we need. Maybe you have been distressed or exasperated with God. St. Teresa of Avila said to God after falling into the mud during a fierce rainstorm, “If this is how You treat Your friends, no wonder why You have so few of them!” I’m sure we can relate to this sentiment. In all things, trust God. We know and believe that He loves us more than we love ourselves. He knew that Peter needed to be reassured of their relationship because of the hardships that were to come for Peter, especially in his martyrdom. So pray for the grace to trust and love God in all times and places.
Peace of Christ,
We are still in the Octive of Easter. For eight days the Catholic Church celebrates every day as if it were Easter. So today is still a high feast day. So go out to eat. Get some extra ice cream. Go a little crazy. Jesus has risen from the dead!! Alleluia!
I probably told this to you last year, but in 2000, Saint Pope John Paul II declared the Sunday after Easter to be Divine Mercy Sunday. The Divine Mercy devotion was originated with Saint Faustina Kowalska of Poland in the early 20th century. In her diary (which you can buy and read – and I encourage you to do so – it is good spiritual reading), she describes Jesus’ great desire for us to know and to be open to receiving His great mercy. The devotion states that the Hour of Mercy is 3 PM, the time that Jesus died on the Cross. A common way to live out the devotion is to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. It is super easy. I do it every day. You just need a Rosary. It usually takes me 6-7 minutes to pray the whole Divine Mercy Chaplet.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus has great mercy on the Apostles, disciples, and especially the Apostle Thomas. Jesus appears to the Apostles and breathes on them. He again gives them the power to forgive sins. However, Thomas was not with them. Thus, He did not believe the other Apostles when they told Him they had seen Jesus. Thomas was not with them. He had given up. He had gone back to his former way of life. But finally they were able to talk Thomas into joining them. And when He did, Jesus appeared again and invited Thomas to believe.
We are all believers. But we are all believers at different point of the journey. So no matter where you are on the journey, pray for and believe in God’s infinite mercy and believe in Jesus Christ more and more with each passing day.
May Easter Celebrations continue,