Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Apr 13, 2022

ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA!  JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD!  St. Paul tells us that if Jesus has not risen from the dead ten our faith is in vain.  The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is what gives us hope for eternal life.  Jesus’ rising from the dead means that HE has conquered sin and death and He wants us to share in His victory through our faith in Him.  As Catholics we believe that Jesus will raise us up on the last day as long as we believe in Him and strive to live out that faith in our everyday lives.

We are a Resurrection People because we believe and live our faith in Jesus risen from the dead.  When we receive the Body and Blood of the Lord in the Eucharist we are receiving the risen Christ who suffered, died, and is now risen in glory.  The Risen Lord empowers us to live our faith in all that we do.

Easter must make a difference in our lives.  It is not just another holyday; it is the most important day we celebrate as Catholics and Christians.  If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then we are completely lost and we are deader the dead.  Our life is complete and full only in the Lord Jesus.

As we celebrate the new life of Easter with great joy and happiness we are also painfully aware of the troubles throughout the world.  This is especially true in the Middle East and in Africa where Christians are persecuted and martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ.  There are many terrible things going on in the world, but at the same time there is so much good being done by many people because of their faith in God.  God truly works in wonderful ways through our lives.  The more we allow Him into our lives the more good He can accomplish in us and for our world.  There is power in our faith and love God.  God never imposes His Will on us, but He wants to do wonderful things through us when we consent to be instruments of His love and peace.

Easter is a perfect time for us to renew our relationship with God and truly open our minds and hearts to Him by really being His disciples; true followers of Jesus Christ.  We can renew our relationship through prayer, the sacraments, the Word of God, the Mass itself, and by living our lives so as to glorify God in all that we do.  Each Sunday is Easter and it is a time to celebrate our new life in God and commit ourselves to Christ by coming to Mass and realizing that this is how He gives us the gift of Himself so that we can be complete and filled with His grace.  I hope everyone has a very holy and happy Easter with your family and friends.  May the Risen Lord fill your hearts with His peace.

Next Sunday is the Feast of Divine Mercy, established by Pope John Paul II, at the canonization of St. Faustina, in 2002. It is very fitting that we celebrate the feast of God’s mercy on the octave of Easter, which is THE celebration of God’s love and mercy for us.

We will pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at all the Masses next Sunday before the final hymn. After Mass, you are invited to venerate the image of Divine Mercy by bowing before the image as you leave church. In doing this and going to confession within eight days before or after the Feast of Divine Mercy, you can receive a plenary indulgence, which is the removal of all temporal punishment due to our sins.

I am very grateful to all who made our celebration of Holy Week such a prayerful and meaningful celebration. May God bless all our extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, lectors, ushers, altar servers, musicians, cantors, choirs, and those who so beautifully decorated the church for Easter.

FLIX PICK:  I have gone to the movie theatre once in the past two years since covid started.  The pandemic was one reason for my absence the other reason is that there has not been much out there to go to see.  Now there is something worth recommending: “Father Stu,” in theaters now, tells the story of Father Stuart Long, a priest who had been ordained for only four years before he died from an incurable muscle disorder, and the lives he touched along the way before and after his ordination.

Some of those he touched were, in truth, pummeled, as Stuart Long was an amateur boxer, compiling a 15-2 record before he gave up the ring.

In those days, pre-Father Stu was the kind of guy who wouldn’t take no for an answer — and often assembled a string of expletives before rejecting any rebuff to his pursuit of whatever dream he was following at the time. But the priest, who grew up unbaptized, had a near-death experience following a motorcycle accident and determined the priesthood was his true calling.

“I’ve made a movie about a remarkable man, and I know that they had campaigned to get him ordained and petitioned to have him canonized,” Wahlberg told Catholic News Service in a March 31 phone interview from Los Angeles. “I’ll push and campaign for Stu, absolutely.”  I think this movie is worth seeing and I plan to go to the theatre to see it.  I invite you to do the same.

Fr. Joe Labak