Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Mar 15, 2023

Today is traditionally the Feast of St. Joseph, the husband of Mary, but because it falls on a Sunday, the Church has transferred it to tomorrow. The Sundays of Lent take precedence over other feast days. I am obviously a little partial to the feast of St. Joseph. Nonetheless, this feast gives all of us an opportunity to reflect on the example of faith that the life of St. Joseph gives to us. We do not know very much about St. Joseph except what the Bible tells us. He was the husband of Mary, the foster father of Jesus. The fact that God entrusted St. Joseph to Mary and Jesus, speaks volumes to us about the faith that this man must have had in God. St. Joseph was willing to do exactly what God asked of him even though he did not fully understand what God was doing. St. Joseph trusted in God’s plan for his family even though his feelings and what everyone else was probably telling him did not exactly affirm what God was telling him.

In addition to this, what God was telling St. Joseph was coming to him by way of dreams and not some concrete communication from God Himself. St. Joseph was a man of great faith and great love for God. When we look at the life of St. Joseph, we can only ask ourselves if we would be willing to do all that God asks of us. Is our faith in God and our love for Him strong enough to enable us to do whatever God asks of us? Is God really at the center of our lives? We are so blessed to have much more on which to base our faith than St. Joseph ever dreamed of. We have the Risen Christ, the sacraments, the Gospel, and the Church to guide and to teach us. How much do we rely on these things in our daily lives or do we allow the ways and means of the world to guide us instead?  As we celebrate this Feast of St. Joseph, let us try to follow his example of faith and pray as he did that God will strengthen us through the Church, the sacraments, the Gospel, and one another, to be people of faith with a deep love for God and our Blessed Mother. May St. Joseph guide all fathers so that they can lead their families to the kingdom of heaven.

Today is Laetare Sunday, which is the Fourth Sunday of Lent and the halfway point of this Holy Season. This halfway point gives us cause to reflect on what we have done during the first half of Lent. Are we making the most of this special time to grow in our faith and our love for God and one another? If we have not been doing so well with our Lenten resolutions, then this is a good time to renew our efforts and make the most of what remains.

The Gospel today tells us that Jesus cures the man who was born blind. This blind man believes that Jesus can cure him and so he begs Jesus to hear his plea. Jesus hears and answers the plea and the man who never saw anyone or anything is now able to see. The obvious parallel is our own spiritual blindness, just like that of the Pharisees. We often think we see things very clearly when, in fact, we are just looking and seeing things the way we want to and not the way God would have us see them. God sees things a little differently than we do, but He wants to help us see things as they truly are: the way He sees them. God sees the truth and that is what He wants us to see and to know. As Jesus told us, “The truth will make us free.” He is the truth and so we strive to live by all that He has taught us.  Sometimes it is very difficult for us to see everything the way God wants us to see. There are many things in our lives and the world that can make it hard for us to see clearly. Our own wants and desires and all that the world sets before us can make it hard for us to see things in the light of faith. This is why prayer is so important in our lives because the time spent with God helps us to remember how very much God loves us and how close He is to us. The more time we spend with God, the more clearly we can see Him in our lives.

The Men’s Lenten Retreat last Sunday was a prayerful time for the men of the parish.  There was about 80 men that came together for prayer and reflection.  Thanks to Fr. Pat for organizing the day and sharing prayer with them.  Thanks also to Jess Allen for organizing the hospitality for the men.  God bless all who participated and made the day possible.

Senate Bill 11 — the Parent Educational Freedom Act — would expand eligibility for Educational Choice scholarships, also known as EdChoice, to all students beginning with the 2023-2024 school year. This would allow every Ohio student to be eligible for scholarships of up to $5,500 for students in grades K-8 and $7,500 for those in grades 9-12 to be used at any chartered non-public school that accepts EdChoice scholarships. It also would increase the amount of homeschooling expenses a taxpayer could claim as income tax credit each year from $250 to $2,000.  “This could be the biggest seismic shift in Ohio’s school choice landscape since the programs were first introduced, but it will require our sustained voice,” O’Linn said. “There is momentum among the senate, house and governor, but they all want to hear from their constituents to tell them we are in support of this bill.”

Fr. Joe Labak