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
Easter, 2nd Sunday (Divine Mercy) • 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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Good Friday • Jesus is God’s perfect gift to us, and man’s perfect offering to God. He invites us to receive His gift, and to join in this perfect gift. How do you respond?
(30 Mar 2018)
Holy Thursday • It’s like Lent is over. But the worst is yet to come. Good Friday, the darkest day, is sandwiched between the beautiful moment of Holy Thursday and the even greater moment of Easter Sunday. God gives us the beautiful moments so that we trust Him in the difficult moments. God can give us any challenge because He will face it with us. But we often run away because we don’t have confidence in God’s faithfulness. Can your faith survive Good Friday?
(29 Mar 2018)
Read and reflect on the Footprints in the Sand poem in light of Good Friday. How does the Cross look different if God the Father was carrying His Son Jesus through the Passion? How has God carried you?
Thank you Tom and Sue for the Holy Thursday donation and warm wishes. And thank you to our newest partners Gary and Sally and the friend who introduced them to the preaching podcast. Real friends share the preaching podcast.
Palm Sunday (Year B) • Jesus reveals the love of God and the full potential of our human nature. How does Jesus remain faithful all the way to the end? Jesus doesn’t try to “figure it out.” He says “yes” to God’s will, relying completely on the Father’s strength and not on his own. Many of us were born into the covenant but now we have to make it our own. This Holy Week will you rely on your own strength, or trust in God’s strength?
(25 Mar 2018)
Reflect on times when you relied on God’s strength and not your own. How did things turn out? Is Fr. Joel right about Jesus’ secret?
Thank you Joan and Ron for supporting a pod that’s safe to swallow.
Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year B) • Everything in the Old Covenant points to something totally new: Jesus Christ. The New Covenant is less about following the law and more about falling in love. Your local Catholic parish should be an environment that surrounds us with God’s love. Following the rules is the beginning but not the end. I can start by obeying because I fear God’s punishment. Gradually we should learn the obedience of Jesus: a loving service to the Father who loves us. True faith is all about falling in love. And it starts when we see Jesus for ourselves. How deeply do you want to see Jesus?Read More
God created a covenant with Noah and his family. Then he drew Abraham and his tribe into the covenant, Moses and the nation of Israel, and David and the Kingdom of Israel. You can see that this is building towards something really big; it is building towards Jesus Christ. This is why the Bible is divided into two halves. The first half is known as the Old Testament. Testament means witness, but it is also an older term for Covenant. The second half is known as the New Testament. The key moment that begins the New Testament is the announcement of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the fulfillment of every promise through all the covenants. He is the source of universal blessing promised to Abraham. He is the beloved son who will be sacrificed on a mountain. He is the lamb of Passover that saves His people from death. He is the Son of David who sits on a royal throne forever, whose kingdom will never be destroyed. He sets up the 12 Apostles as the new 12 tribes of Israel. These Apostles receive the gift of the Eucharist at the Last Supper and the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They are the original Bishops. They lay hands on other men to succeed them, who lay hands on other men, who lay hands on other men, all the way down to our day. It is not the case that the salvation won by Christ is available only to Catholics. Rather the church is called to be a witness to God’s enduring love. We are called from every nation and language and invited to be a holy people, God’s faithful people, so that all the world can have a visible sign of God’s faithfulness to us.
The covenant shows us that God is worth more: more than descendants, more than power, more than riches, more than honor. The great covenant fathers put their faith in God and through their obedience learned that God keeps his promise. All of this was pointing to Jesus our Lord, savior, and sacrifice. The covenant shows us God’s faithfulness; now we must show God’s faithfulness to the world.
Yours in Christ,
Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year B) • Obedience to God flows from faith in God. Noah, Abraham, and all the rest are asked to trust God and to do what God asks. The Israelites often broke the covenant by refusing to do what God asked. But there is another way of breaking the covenant. Sometimes the people would go through the motions of loving God, without really loving God. Like a married couple who does all the right things, but hasn’t given their hearts to each other. Like a priest who seems to do a really good job but doesn’t actually love God. So Christians who do all the right things but haven’t given their hearts to God. Such works cannot save us. Where is your heart?