Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Jan 11, 2024

This past Monday, we celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.  With this celebration we enter Ordinary Time until Ash Wednesday, which is on February 14 this year.  Ordinary Time cannot be understood by the word we choose to describe it.  We get the term “Ordinary” from the numbers that are used to denote each week. We count the weeks by using the ordinal numbers, i.e., first, second, third, and so on.  The season is in no way ordinary as we typically use the word to denote something that is common or not eventful.  The Ordinary Time of the Church year which is signified by the green vestments worn by the priest and deacon is far from ordinary.  The Church chose the color green as a symbol of hope and growth.  The Church continues to hope in the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to come again.  Until He does return, we, as the Church, continue to grow in our relationship with Him.

It is very fitting that we should begin this season with the Baptism of the Lord because we can then recall our own baptism in the Lord and the beginning of our relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  From our baptism, we begin our share in the mission of Jesus Christ.  It is a mission to be the Church, the Body of Christ.  Our baptism is meant to reorder our lives and direct us to God our Father.

As we grow in wisdom and grace, we hopefully begin to see how close God is to us and how much He loves us.  As we begin to realize this love of God there begins to grow a desire to share that love with those around us by sharing our faith in God.  This means that we become real witnesses to the Gospel in our daily lives.  We begin to live more and more for our faith and relationship with God than just for what the world has to offer.

The challenge to live out our baptism is something we must try to think about every day of our lives and not just when we go to church on Sunday or take a few minutes to pray at the end of the day.  Thinking about who we really are is something that we must strive to be aware of all the time, no matter where we are or what we are doing.  To be a true disciple of Jesus, an INTENTIONAL DISCIPLE, we must choose each morning to follow Him and make Him known in some way.  This is of course a huge challenge in our world today because of all the distractions that the world throws at us demanding that we become more and more immersed in that world and convincing us that there is little, or no time left for being a disciple of Jesus.  For many people today, being a disciple of Jesus is a minor activity in their lives and they have convinced themselves that doing the bare minimum is all that is necessary.  This is a big mistake.  If we look at the Word of God, nowhere does He say anything like this.  The opposite is true as He tells us to Love Him with ALL our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves.  This does not sound like something we can do with minimal effort.  Jesus calls us to  be His witness in the world.  We cannot even begin to do this if we don’t know who Jesus is and what He is all about.

As we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord let’s take some real time to think about our own baptism and how we are living that out and teaching our children and others to do the same.  Being a disciple of Jesus requires great time and effort and is something that we can easily incorporate into all that we do in our daily lives.  The life of a disciple begins with prayer, a prayer that is lived out at home, at work, at school, or wherever we find ourselves.

Please save the date for this year’s Iron Chef Competition on Saturday, February 3.  This is the major fundraiser for our St. Vincent de Paul Society and the good work they do to help those in need right here in our own community.  Please support these efforts to help others.

Our evening for married couples will be held on Saturday, February 10, here at Sacred Heart.  The couples are invited to attend the 5 PM Mass during which they will be invited to renew their marriage vows.  After Mass there will be a catered dinner downstairs in McMahon Hall.  More information coming soon!

Fr. Joe Labak