Pentecost (Year B) God gives Himself to His people in the person of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit enters He fills us with love, shapes us in God’s image, and restores us to Communion with God and one other. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit. Better yet, let the Spirit pray through you for the building up of another. The gift of the Spirit grows to the degree that we give it away.Read More
Ascension of the Lord (Year B) Jesus returns to the spiritual realm where he came from. We can’t see Him but He can see us. He is present to us through the Spirit that dwells in our hearts. May the eyes of your heart be enlightened so you can live your daily life from Jesus’ eternal perspective.
(13 May 2018)Read More
The blizzard of April 14-15 forced us to cancel our regular weekend Masses. I still celebrated a small weekend Mass with a few folks present. I shared it with those at home by streaming from my tablet on Facebook Live. At the time it seemed a practical way to share Mass with those who were stuck at home. People loved it — almost 400 people tuned in. Deacon candidates stranded at a retreat center watched the Mass together. So did the Spiritus team in Menasha, WI. I got this message from a grateful participant:
It felt so good and comforting and a relief not to have to miss feeling a part of the church community during the mass. I had just gotten home with a brand new baby and really needed that mass!
Since then it’s generated a lot of buzz. The Compass, our Diocesan newspaper, published a nice article last week: Spring snowstorm leads priests to offer virtual Mass for the masses. I was invited to speak about it on Relevant Radio’s Morning Air show on Wednesday, May 9. I talk for the last 12 minutes of the second hour show. You can still watch the original video on Facebook; as of this posting it’s gotten 9.7K views. And I talked about the experience in the following week’s homily: Shepherd in a Snow Storm | BP#825
I’m not entirely sure what the buzz is all about. Today’s technology makes “going live” on the internet incredibly easy to do. That particular weekend there were thousands of people who would usually have been at Mass who had nothing to do but sit on Facebook. It hit a particular need at a particular time. Is this the next wave, or just a curiosity? Let me know what you think about it, because I’m not sure what to make of it.
I didn’t preach this weekend so I have nothing to share with you. But here are a couple of older homilies if you’re looking for inspiration. May you more deeply experience the merciful love of God this week.
From 2012, which was also Mother’s Day:
How to know it’s really Love (Homily for Mother’s Day)
And a mediocre recording from way back in 2009:
Fr. Joel’s Homily for May 17
Easter, 5th Sunday (Year B) • I got my first wild turkey thanks to Lee’s mentoring. The Holy Spirit mentors and guides us in the spiritual life. In addition to being mentored, we are also called to mentor others. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to build us up in the faith so that we can build up others.Read More
Easter, 4th Sunday (Year B) The Good Shepherd never forgets a sheep. Come hell or high water, blizzard or earthquake, the Good Shepherd will be there with you and for you. How would your life look different if you trusted this much in God’s love for you?
(22 Apr 2018)
Thank you to all our listeners and supporters especially Michelle.
Easter, 3rd “Blizzard” Sunday (Year B) • How do we know for sure that Jesus rose from the dead? We know because eyewitnesses saw the risen Jesus and it changed their lives forever. The risen Jesus is still with us and He continues to change lives today. Where have you seen the Risen Jesus? How has He changed your life? People will believe in the Resurrection when they see the transformation in us.Read More
Divine Mercy (Easter 2nd Sunday) • On Easter we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death in the world. On Divine Mercy Sunday we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death in your life. Jesus is like us in all the things that we dislike: hungry, tired, lonely, poor, weak, unpopular. It is precisely in our misery that God comes to meet us and offer mercy. Even if the doors are locked, when we celebrate Mass Jesus stands on the altar and says, “Peace be with you.” Jesus comes to forgive our sins and feed us with True Love. Pray to experience once again for the first time the Miracle of the Eucharist.
8 Apr 2018
Going Deeper: O people of God, celebrate this Mass, receive this Communion, as if it were your first Mass, as if it were your last Mass, as if it were your only Mass.Read More
Easter Sunday • The Resurrection of Jesus fulfills God’s promises from the past and it promises a glorious future. Belief in the Resurrection changes the way we see sacrifice, sufferings, and death. The Resurrection changed Christians and they changed the world. Do you believe in the Resurrection?
(1 Apr 2018)
How has the Risen Jesus met you and blessed you in the midst of a moment of suffering or crucifixion?
Talk to a friend about your thoughts about death and the afterlife. And then think about your own funeral plan.
Thank you to Jody TEC and KathyBaehman for your nice reviews on Apple Podcasts (iTunes). The downloads on iTunes are up because of you. Thank you to all who listen, support, pray for us, and share us with your friends. Happy Easter!
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus’ cry on Good Friday still echoes in our ears. We have all felt this way. “Why did God abandon me when my parents divorced…when my Grandma died…when my son was killed…when I got cancer…?” We see violence in our schools, mass shootings, broken marriages, selfish politics, endless wars, cancer, and death. Has God abandoned us?
“Dear God, why do you allow so much violence in our schools?” – Concerned Student
“Dear concerned student, I’m not allowed in schools.” – God
We have to admit that we’ve done plenty of abandoning God. Attendance at Sunday worship services is lower than it’s ever been. Most of us are comfortable going along with social norms about pre-marital sex, alternatives to marriage, casual drug use, socially acceptable forms of discrimination, and a throw-away consumer culture that is very different from the life of the Saints. We tend to ignore God unless there is something we want. Or we need someone to blame.
This is nothing new. The crowd quickly turned from “Hosanna” to “Crucify Him!” Peter abandoned Jesus; Judas betrayed him; his friends ran away. Yet Jesus remained faithful to God. His last words on the cross were, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Jesus was faithful until death. His Resurrection proves that God is faithful even beyond death.
Our journey through the covenant this Lenten season has taught us that God is worth more: more than descendants, more than power, more than riches, more than honor. And we have seen God’s faithfulness from generation to generation. This is the true meaning of Easter. Our violence, sin, selfishness, and death have not caused God to abandon us. In fact, it was our very sinfulness that caused God to draw near to us. He sent Jesus to offer his life in exchange for ours.
Jesus proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is nowhere we can run, no place we can fall, that God is not already there. When we find ourselves hanging on the crosses of life, feeling forsaken by God, realize that Jesus himself is hanging next to you, suffering with you and for you. Turn to him and say, “Jesus, remember me.” And you will hear him say: “I never forgot you. I meant what I said, ‘I will be with you always.’”
Though you may have abandoned Him a thousand times, God has not abandoned you. Turn back to him with all your heart. Thank God for his faithfulness to you. Ask His help to be more faithful in the little moments of everyday life. We may fall, and fall, and fall, but God will always be there to forgive us and pick us up. Until finally we fall into His arms for one last time as we take our final breath. If we are faithful until death, we will hear Jesus say to us, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” Lots of fairy tales end with Happily Ever After, but there’s only one true story that does. It just so happens to be our story.
In the Joy of Easter,
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