"My house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples."
This quote from Isaiah reminds us that God sees no difference in peoples. It is the way in which we live and act, especially towards one another, that defines us and many times in these days, separates us. We are all made in the image and likeness of God and we are first and foremost to see that in each other. The color of our skin or hair or what language we speak should not be the one thing that defines us. It is the heart that should define us. We are becoming a very angry people. We think that if we yell all the louder than others, that proves we are right. If we destroy something we do not agree with, we feel justified. But in the aftermath we become deaf due to the noise and we live in ruins. Is this what God calls us to be? I think not! What will it take to get it through people's heads that violence doesn't solve anything? It is only through respectful listening and discussion that people can come to an understanding. We may not agree, but that is OK. Arguing is fine if it is done civilly and with respect. When did we forget that? Let us pray that God may touch the hearts and minds of people to recognize God is the God of all peoples and follow His lead.
How big is your Faith? Is it big enough to follow the example of Elijah, who knew God was not in the big, showy things of thunder and earthquakes but in the small whisper? Or is it a little small, like Peter's, who initially had Jesus in his sights but as he looked at the things surrounding him, namely water, he lost sight of Jesus and began to sink? Don't worry...we have all had our faith tested at one time or another, and still do. The key is to keep our focus on Jesus and His voice, even a small whisper, and we will have the faith to respond without fear. Keeping our lives focused on Christ, we will never sink!
Congratulations to five members of our Boy Scout Troop 31 who attained the rank of Eagle this past week. Congrats to: Ryan Ciresi, Thane Ciulla, Kevin Keys, Ben Sokup and Jack Usher. We are very proud of you!
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration. Jesus was shown in His risen glory as the conqueror of sin and death. He is the fulfillment of God's promise in the Law and the Prophets; to bring us the fullness of life. The Transfiguration gives strength to the witnesses, Peter, James and John, the three who He would take further into the garden to witness His passion so that they would remain strong during the time of trial. We, too, are called to share in the fullness of life through faithfulness to God through Christ. We, too, are strengthened by the living Christ to face the difficulties, knowing that in the end we will also conquer death, in, with and through Christ.
I would like to thank everyone for the cards and birthday wishes. It is much appreciated.
Our Faith is a treasure freely given to us by God. It is not the type of treasure that we just keep for ourselves, but it is the type of treasure whose true value is recognized when we share it with others. It is the type of treasure that increases as it is shared. Such a gift we have been given! How do we receive this amazing gift of God? Do we put it on a shelf and bring it out occasionally, like on Sunday or just Christmas and Easter--since it is so special? (note sarcasm). Do we leave it hidden away when company comes because if someone sees it they may want to talk about it and we are not prepared to do that? Faith is the gift that keeps on giving, but only if we live it and use it each day. It is like a muscle which needs exercise in order for it to grow; if not, it becomes weak and is of little use to anyone, especially ourselves. So treasure this great gift by taking it off the shelf, dusting it off and putting it on. Don't worry--it will always fit and never goes out of style!
Our soul is a most precious gift of God. It is something that both God and the devil vie for. God has the deepest desire to be one with us, but He will not force us into relationship; it is our choice. No matter how much God wants us to become one with Him, he will not force it. He gave us the gift of free will. The devil also wants our soul. He will stop at nothing to corrupt that which was made by God because he is jealous, as he cannot create anything on his own. All he can do is corrupt what God has made. But he can also only do that with our consent. In order to achieve that, he will use any means necessary; that is why he is called the deceiver and the father of lies. His greatest lie still works: "You will be God." It worked to corrupt the relationship of Adam and Eve with God and one another. His lie tries to get us to rely only on ourselves and convince us that God does not really care, then he steps it up to bring us to push God out so he can step in. Evil is seductive. It wears us down a little bit at a time. As in the Gospel, the weeds can look like wheat, but eventually they are recognized in their not bearing fruit. Once we recognize those attitudes and such that alienate us from Christ and His Church, we can overcome those tendencies to listen to the father of lies and turn instead to the voice of God calling us to a more complete and full life.
Faith is indeed a gift from God. It is God calling to our heart and soul. But how does our heart and soul recognize God's word? Our Faith needs to be nurtured in order for it to mature and grow. Just as Jesus talks about the seed in the Gospel, so it is with Faith. The seed on the path is when we get caught up in the things of daily life and forget the spiritual life. In a sense it can be eaten up by the cares of daily life. It is living without trust in God. The rocky soil is where we get excited with the "special times of Faith": Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation and Matrimony, but forget that faith is not limited to those "special times" but is an everyday event, if we choose to live it that way. The thorns are when we feel we are hurt by God because He does not do what we want, or by a representative of the faith community. Our resentment chokes our faith and the wanting it to have a deeper relationship. The good soil is the faith community, consisting of family and friends in faith, who are there to support our growth. They allow for us to see more clearly God's presence and especially His action in our lives. That is where we have the opportunity to become saints. Faith is indeed a gift, the "deposit of Faith", what we do with it in nurturing and giving it the opportunity to grow and deepen our relationship with Christ and his Church is up to us.
A special thanks to the Scouts from Troop 31 for their work in placing the mulch around the church and rectory grounds. The Scouts are an important ministry of the parish and we are proud to have them as a part of the parish. Thanks to:
Scouts: Zane Cullinan, Kevin Keys, Alex Ciulla,
Donovan Wogernese, James Elverum, John Buscherfeld, Lucas Sommers, Luke Usher, William Schlitz,
Siblings: Olivia Morning, Margaret Morning, Megan Buscherfeld
Adults: Lisa Ciulla, Jay Ciulla, Mark Buscherfeld,
Paul Morning, Mr. Sommers, Dave Wogernese,
Patty Usher, Dave Usher, Jennifer Schlitz,
Thanks also to: Paul and Elliott Morning for picking up the mulch and delivering it.
If you haven't noticed, we have a new Baptismal bowl donated in memory of Teresa Deinhammer. Also this summer we are putting in two Marian shines outdoors. One will be in the front of the church on the lawn to the right. The other will be in the garden area on the Sherwin side off the circle drive. Both projects should be finished by the end of July.
Are we supposed to be afraid of God? Isn't that what Jesus means when he talks about fearing the one who can destroy both body and soul? How can we love God but be afraid of him at the same time? Probing questions aren't they? We have to look at what did Jesus mean by using the word "fear". The word is better translated to mean "awe and wonder". Does not sound as scary does it? In the Gospel Jesus reminds us that even though God has the ultimate power over us, He also loves us deeply and wants nothing but good for us. Just as a parent sometimes uses fear to teach us i.e., warning us about playing with fire or texting while driving. they do it out of love for us. Now that fear does not prevent us from learning to cook or to drive, but it is done to help us use those powerful things in the correct way and not in a way that would harm us or others. The "fear of the Lord" is matched by God's great love for us. Wanting the best for us and using every means to bring us to the fullness of life and love in Christ.
"He who sings, prays twice". This quote, according to legend, was written on the wall in a monk's cell. It refers to the understanding that you use twice as much breath to sing as you do to speak, hence the proverb written on the wall. Music has always been and continues to be, an important part of the Liturgies of the Church. I want to thank all those who participate in the Church's Liturgical Ministries; our cantors, instrumentalists, choirs and especially our coordinators who prepare and choose the music for the weekend Masses and all the other Liturgical celebrations throughout the year. Your talent is a gift of God and we thank you for making your gift a gift to the whole Church through your selfless giving and dedication. We are lucky to have our 8:30 and 10:30 choirs, our Youth choir and our Family choir plus the Alleluia Choir, who sing for our funerals. Thank you so much. To all our accompanists, cantors and other musicians who take much time to practice in order to help lead the singing. To Colleen Garnevicus, our music and choir director for the 8:30 and 10:30 choir and Chris Ott who works with and directs our Youth Choir; thanks for all your hard work and love of music you instill in the choir members. Thanks also to our Liturgy Committee who help plan out our Liturgical Seasons and special celebrations. In the next couple years we will be calling on you to help with our celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Diocese in 2018 and the Parish's Diamond Jubilee in 2020. May God continue to bless your gift and through your sharing of those gifts, the entire parish.
Before you were even formed, God knew you. While in your Mother's womb, God named you. At your birth, God's breath filled you with life. Today we celebrate what you have become at this moment in time. And so we pray, God of our beginnings, we thank you for the gifts of these graduates; their excitement, their awesome wonder and curiosity, their open speech and encouraging words. Their contributions have blessed and challenged us, and we have become a richer and more diverse community because of them. As they step forward into the world that awaits, comfort their fears with the full knowledge of your Divine Presence. Strengthen their resolve to walk in the footsteps of Jesus as modern-day disciples in a world that needs their spirit. Guide their feet as they move through life, protecting them from the pitfalls of darkness while they help to lead future generations into the warmth and promise of your light. We ask this blessing upon each of them, In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Congratulations to all our Graduates!
Jesus appears to his disciples, wishes them peace and then sends them out. The purpose is that we have become ministers of the Lord's peace for the world. And the world definitely needs it now. A day cannot go by without hearing or reading of a serious attack on peace. The peace of Christ is not a peace that is marked out of paper with terms and conditions. It is a peace that comes from within the heart of each man and woman. A peace given by the Holy Spirit, not created by us as a way to avoid conflict. God's peace is much more than that. It is a peace that changes hearts. That is where true and lasting peace comes from. With our rootedness in faith in God and his Church being eroded, the possibility of true peace is also eroded. During this celebration of Pentecost pray that all people allow the power of the Holy Spirit to erode hearts hardened by hatred, pain, misunderstanding and ego, and fill them with the power of God's love and peace. We are ministers of the Lord's peace, empowered by the Holy Spirit and sent into the world to bring that peace to all. So let us begin...