Thank you, from our entire community, to Neil Krumenauer for his service to us in maintenance over the past 13 years. We accompany you in prayer and wish you well in your retirement.
With great joy I announce that Pope Francis has given his final approval to a miracle attributed to the founder of the Salvatorians, Francis Jordan. That means he will be beatified. We are waiting for the decision on time and place. I thank all of you who have been praying with us for his beatification. He will be the second Salvatorian recognized in this way by the Church. Blessed Mary of the Apostles, who together with Jordan founded the Salvatorian Sisters, was beatified in 1968.
We have received a letter expressing joy and thanks for the generosity of those who contributed to our amazing Living Waters Campaign this year. Living Waters will be sending updates and pictures, as the wells are completed. PACT (Pius Parishioners Always Come Through)!
Our Gospel today contains one of my favorite passages, one I use often for funerals: Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. There are three steps in this quote that I keep reminding myself of, as I struggle through life.
The first is “come to me.” Nothing will happen if we don’t go to the Lord and allow Him to be a part of our lives. That is why I keep stressing the importance of quiet time with the Lord, time when we are not simply saying words but sharing our concerns with Him AND LISTENING, as we do with a good friend.
Then comes “take my yoke upon you.” That doesn’t sound good. We generally think of a yoke as a burden. Two oxen yoked together properly can do much more than either one of them ever could do alone. By analogy, when we are yoked with Jesus, “we will find rest” for ourselves…because the “burden is light.” Jesus will have a large part of the load!
And what is the yoke? Jesus gives us a clear answer: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.” When we are meek and humble, we don’t have to be first, we don’t need to be in competition, we can think of others and be compassionate and sharing, we don’t hold onto hurts, we forgive, etc. etc. We live the beatitudes. We flow in harmony with others. And then the result comes: we will find rest for our souls. We discover that the yoke IS easy and the burden light, because we are not struggling and competing and angry and revengeful any more, we are living in harmony with others.
I invite us this week to reflect on the passage “Come to me…” that I quoted above? Do I go to the Lord and listen? Do I allow Him to yoke with me? Am I growing in my ability to live meekly and humbly? How can I improve?
Let us support each other in prayer as we struggle to come to the Lord, take up His yoke, and learn to be meek and humble of heart.
June 23, 2020
Milwaukee, Wis. – The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has officially authorized the promulgation of the decree regarding the miracle attributed to the intercession of the Salvatorian Founder, Venerable Fr. Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan. This completes the process on the miracle and definitively opens the way towards beatification of our Founder, who will soon be called “Blessed Francis Jordan.”
Fr. Jordan’s beatification process began in 1943. After the death of a holy man or woman, their history is written and their works are collected and sent to a special Vatican congregation for review. If everything looks good, the person is given the title, “Servant of God.”
The Vatican then confirms that people will remember and venerate the person to make sure the reputation of holiness does not fade, or is limited only to a small group of followers. This is an important consideration when it comes to officially declaring someone a saint of the universal church. Heroicity of virtue is acknowledged at this stage in the process, and the person receives the title “Venerable.”
In 2011 Pope Benedict XVI officially announced that Fr. Jordan “lived a holy life,” by acknowledging the “heroicity of his virtues” and declaring him Venerable Francis Jordan.
In the next step, testimony of a miracle is needed and has to be confirmed so that the Servant of God can be declared “Blessed” through the beatification process.
“Fr. Jordan valued universality, inclusiveness and collaboration as essential to the mission of proclaiming the Gospel throughout the world. This is just as true in our times as it was in the late 19th century,” said Fr. Jeff Wocken SDS, USA provincial of the Society of the Divine Savior. “His beatification will reaffirm for the universal Church that the pursuit of holiness and salvation is only possible when we overcome our differences and place our trust in the unconditional mercy and providence of God.”
A young couple, who were expecting a baby in 2014 in Jundiai, Brazil, was informed by several medical doctors and specialists that their unborn child was suffering an incurable bone disease (skeletal dysplasia). Being members of a group of Lay Salvatorians, the parents began to pray through the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God, Fr. Francis Jordan, inviting other members of the Salvatorian Family to join them.
The child was born completely healthy on September 8, 2014, the Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Mother and the anniversary of Fr. Francis Jordan’s death.
After the required canonical procedures had been successfully completed, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, declared that this miraculous healing was worked by God through the intercession of Fr. Francis Jordan.
Salvatorian priests and brothers are members of the Society of the Divine Savior, a Catholic religious community founded in 1881 by Fr. Francis Jordan. The U.S.A. Province headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis. is led by Fr. Jeffrey Wocken SDS, U.S.A. provincial superior. The Society is one of three branches of a religious Family composed of the Priests and Brothers (Society), Sisters (Congregation) and the Lay Branch (International Community of the Divine Savior).
Inspired by their founders, the Salvatorian Family is committed to apostolic work, that all may know the Savior, by whatever ways and means and gifts they have.
They work collaboratively to fulfill their Founders dream and are deeply rooted in Jesus, our Savior, as they share His mission of worldwide evangelization with simplicity and trust in God. They collaborate to promote justice and improve quality of life in our world with a preferential option for the poor.
Dir. of Communications & Mission Advancement
Society of the Divine Savior
I am appreciative to those who have kept up their financial support of our community over these last months. Our expenses continue and I am pleased that our income continues to come in. Thank you. Also, despite the current economic conditions, we have set a record this year for our Living Waters Campaign: $45,110. Congratulations! What a great gift to the 9 communities in Tanzania which will receive wells. PACT: Pius Parishioners Always Come Through!
The diocese now allows daily Masses. We will celebrate in the church at 8:00 am Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, wearing masks and observing social distancing. The bishop has removed the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays through July.
Many of our problems come when we operate out of fear. One example is the cartoon reprinted here about toilet paper, showing two “roll models”: one hoarding, the other sharing.
Why did people hoard toilet paper? Fear that they would be caught without. Experts tell us there would have been no shortage if there had not been hoarding. The fear caused hoarding and the hoarding actually caused the shortage. If people had thought of others and not just themselves, everything would have been fine.
That is a good analogy for this weekend’s reading. We fear when we should trust in God. If we know God is in control, we will be able to reach out to each other. With each person reaching out to others, all will be OK. We will be helping each other instead of dog-eat-dog. Do we really want to live a dog-eat-dog existence?
News stories reported a big uptick in gun sales at the beginning of the pandemic, presumably so people could “protect” themselves and what they have. Can we trust in God? Share? Be concerned for the other? Then many of our fears will go away.
Our readings this weekend challenge us to trust in God, even when things are very difficult. Jeremiah was having a hard time, but he trusted. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us not to fear and to “be not afraid.” Does God not take care of sparrows? Does He not count the hairs on our head?
I invite us this week to reflect on how much our life and actions might be driven by fear, rather than trust in God, asking God to help us grow in reliance on His Divine Providence. And let us support each other in prayer.
I wish all our fathers a happy Father’s Day.
May God bless you today and always
Daily Masses will resume on Monday, June 15th. Details can be found here.
This is the weekend for our national combined collection to support Black and Indian Missions, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Communication Campaign, Catholic University of America, and the Fund for Religious Retirement. They are all very worthwhile causes. Because of circumstances, this year’s appeal will be done through mail and online. Please be as generous as possible. More information can be found here.
I would like to have written these thoughts for last week’s bulletin, but because the copy needs to be submitted so far in advance, it didn’t happen.
Remember back to the mass shooting at Miller-Coors on February 26th? The Salvatorian community house where I live is on 37th Street at the corner of Miller Lane. Miller Lane is a one block street, south of State Street, that goes into the Miller complex. The building where the shooting took place was back in that area, so our house was surrounded by police and SWAT team members.
Three of us were not at home when the lockdown started. I was here at Pius, Fr. Jim was at the Senior Center in Washington Park, and Simon was at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners. I decided to stay at Pius and did not attempt to go home until the next day. Both Fr. Jim and Simon parked their cars outside of the lockdown area and, by chance, each of them approached the lockdown at the same place: Wells and 37th Street. Fr. Jim pointed down the street and said, “I live there,” and they let him through. Simon did the same and he was refused entry several times, each time returning to his car to sleep or study a while longer. Finally, in the evening, Simon was allowed to come to our house.
Everything happening in our country made me remember this incident. Both men live in the same house. Both men ended up at the same checkpoint. Both had an I.D. that showed they really lived there. The difference? The only thing I can see is that Fr. Jim is White and Simon is Black.
This small incident underscores the systemic problem we have in this country. Black people are treated differently than White people. Our celebration of the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ reminds us that each of us is a child of God, made in His image. As we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we BECOME His Body, the Body of Christ, which is the Church. As St. Paul says to the Galatians in 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. While prejudices and biases are part of our human condition, they are NOT Gospel values. We can’t be comfortable with them: we need to struggle to be aware of where they are nestled in our being and struggle to root them out.
I invite us to prayerfully reflect this week on our own biases and prejudices, being as honest with ourselves as possible, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As the illustration from the New Yorker that accompanies this letter (below) states, recognition is the first step to doing something.
I end with a comment by Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso: To say, as all who eat from the table of the Eucharist should be able to say, that black lives matter is just another way of repeating something we in the United States seem to so often forget, that God has a special love for the forgotten and oppressed.
May God bless us and our country as we struggle to overcome our prejudices.
This is the time of year when we ask people to prayerfully consider serving in various parish
leadership roles that will be available. The work of the Church has always been fueled by people offering their talent and time. Perhaps there is something you have to offer our parish in the way of leadership that you are able to share. Please look over this form detailing the leadership positions that need to be filled. Prayerfully consider taking a leadership role or nominate a parishioner whom you truly feel would be a good leader. Persons who are nominated will be contacted and invited to participate in a discernment session to give them more information on the commitment. Your
prayers for the success of this selection process and for the life of our parish are always a way to be connected and involved; a leadership role will enhance this. Nomination forms can be placed in the collection basket at Mass, mailed in, or dropped off at the parish office. You can also
e-mail any nominations to email@example.com.
Schedule for nomination/selection process 2020 (modified because of COVID-19);
May 24: Nomination information in The Invitation and on the parish website. Nominations open!
An announcement about the process will be made at all Masses the following weekends:
For Pastoral Council: May 30/31, June 6/7, June 13/14.
For Trustee: May 30/31, June 6/7, June 13/14, June 20/21.
June 14: Nominations for Pastoral Council close after the 10:30 am Mass. All nominees for
Pastoral Council will be contacted and invited to a discernment session to be held June 17.
June 17: Orientation/discernment session for Pastoral Council members; afterwards, present
council members discern who will be the new members. The council then selects its
leadership for 2020-2021.
June 21: Nominations for trustee close after the 10:30 am Mass.
July 1: Term of office begins for Pastoral Council members.
July 11/12: After each Mass balloting for trustee if more than one person is nominated –
announcement of candidates and upcoming election in bulletin weekends of
June 27/28 and July 4/5.
July 12: Term of office begins for trustee upon election.
Leaders should have the following:
1. A faith that is alive and Gospel oriented
2. A sense of the mission of the Church and St. Pius X Parish Community
3. Creativity and energy
4. A willingness to make a commitment of time and talent
5. A willingness to listen to others' viewpoints
6. The ability to relate to people and work as a team member
Nominees must meet the following requirements:
1. Be a baptized, practicing Catholic
2. Be a registered member of the parish
3. Be a participant in the parish worship life, especially Mass and the sacraments
4. Be at least 18 years old
Click here for the nomination form.
Friday should have been our graduation from Wauwatosa Catholic. Congratulations to our graduates. We accompany you into the future with our prayers.
Please watch for a mailing for our national combined collection to support Black and Indian Missions, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Communication Campaign, Catholic University of America, and the Fund for Religious Retirement. Over the years there were many complaints from parishes around the United States about all the second collections, so these collections were combined. They are all very worthwhile causes. Please be as generous as possible. Information on how it will be handled this year (by mail and online) can be found elsewhere in the bulletin.
Please remember that each day there is an UPDATE on our website, my effort to keep you informed of what is happening as we move into the future.
This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is one of the greatest mysteries of our Faith, one that we accept in faith, knowing that we can’t understand it logically.
This feast underscores two important realities for me. First, God is community. While God is one, God is also a community of love. One way of understanding this is that the Holy Spirit is the love between the Father and the Son. Second, this “community of love” had to reach out in love, creating us, redeeming us, and sanctifying us. True love is not able to be self-contained but HAS to reach out.
What does this say to us? We, also, are a community, a community that is called to love. We are called to love each other, to support each other, to be there for each other. Hopefully, we are doing this, especially for those members of our community who are home bound or isolated.
But true love also reaches out to others and, as a community of love, we must do the same. We do that in many ways: our Living Waters Campaign helps those who need safe water in Africa; our special needs fund supports many worthwhile causes; our support of food pantries feeds the hungry; the annual Combined Collection (which will be announced next week), a diocese wide collection that helps the most needy; etc. Our Justice and Peace Commission is constantly educating us and calling us to express our love in action. We thank them for their dedication and ministry. Hopefully, each of us is reaching out in love to others, mirroring the love of the Trinity.
We begin every prayer in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. I invite us this week, every time we say in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, to be aware of and reflect on the love these three Persons have shown to us, asking ourselves how we can better reflect that love to the world around us. And let us support each other in prayer.
The Combined Collections: The Church in the United States will be held next week, June 13-14, 2020, supporting five causes throughout the country.
These 5 causes include:
Please be generous; this collection offers a wonderful opportunity to support hands-on efforts to help people in need. If you received an envelope, please mail it in, or donate online at archmil.org/CombinedCollections.
Last week we celebrated the Ascension of the Lord and we heard the great commission that Jesus gave His disciples, including us, as He left this earth: Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. In our baptism we accepted this commission as our own.
It can seem very scary. How can I do that? I am a sinner, I am not sure what I believe, I don’t want to be arrogant, etc., etc. Well, Jesus added one more line, before He ascended: And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. And that is what we celebrate today: Jesus sent us His Spirit to be with us, to guide us, to give us the courage we need.
Think of a small child 5 years old, going to school for the first time. The world can seem so large and overwhelming: scary. The child could never imagine growing up to be a parent or teacher or lawyer or doctor or priest or….. But, with the steady guidance of parents and then teachers and other mentors, we all grew to who and what we are now.
That is what the Holy Spirit does for us in our spiritual life. When we look at the commission to “go out to others and teach them what Jesus commanded,” it IS overwhelming. But the Spirit helps us, step by baby step, to do it. When we are kind to someone, when we forgive someone, when we can let go of anger, when we can share with others, when we can gently correct someone, when we participate in the Eucharist despite a busy schedule, etc., we are fulfilling the commission. Through all these little steps we are “teaching” others what Jesus commanded, by living it in our lives.
As we celebrate our birthday, the birthday of the Church, let us thank Jesus, who, through His Spirit, is with us always, until the end of the age. And let us resolve to spend quiet time each day, allowing the Spirit to speak with us. God bless and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You look good for being almost 2,000 years old!
Near the end of this week, you will receive our newsletter, The Invitation, either in the mail or through an e-mail. Included will be a nomination form for a trustee and three Pastoral Council members. Please watch for this form and prayerfully nominate those whom you think would be good leaders for our community. Thank you.
St. Luke wrote two books in the New Testament, both addressed to “Theophilus,” which means “one who loves God.” The first is his Gospel, which he says he wrote “so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.” The second is the Acts of the Apostles, the beginning of which is our first reading for the feast today, the Ascension of the Lord. In this reading, Jesus tells His disciples to wait in Jerusalem “to be baptized with the Holy Spirit” and then he departs, ascending into heaven.
There are a couple details that I think are significant. First, in Luke’s account, the last words of a disciple before Jesus ascends are to ask about restoring the kingdom of Israel. They still didn’t get it; they needed the gift of the Holy Spirit to be able to understand what kind of Messiah Jesus was and to be set on fire as disciples, bringing the Good News to the world.
Second, we are told two men dressed in white were suddenly there beside them, asking “why are you standing there looking at the sky?” My interpretation is that they were saying to the disciples (which includes us), “stop looking after the Jesus who walked with you, He is gone; move on to the next phase of the story.”
And Luke’s second book, the Acts of the Apostles, presents the next phase of the story: the Holy Spirit comes and the disciples change from fearful people locked in a safe room to fearless proclaimers of the Good News, no matter the dangers or challenges. The Acts of the Apostles is a chronical of those early missionary efforts.
What is the message to us?
If Jesus had stayed, the focus of the disciples would have been on Him. Once He had ascended, His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, could descend upon them and set them on fire. Their focus was outward, sharing the Good News with the world.
We have received the gift of His Spirit, a gift to help us fulfil our baptismal promise to bring Christ to others. If we come to church, worship God, and leave it at that, I think the two men dressed in white would ask us the same question, “why are you standing there looking at the sky?” We have been given the Spirit to help us move to the next phase of our story, that is, sharing the Good News with others by word and example.
It can be more comfortable to come to Mass, worship God, and feel like we have fulfilled our obligations. But we are called to more. The Mass and time with the Lord are crucial, but our religious observance needs to move us out of ourselves toward others, sharing the Good News we have received.
In this last week before we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, I invite us to reflect on our mission to be disciples, asking ourselves how we can do better at bringing the Good News to others. Then, as we celebrate Pentecost, we can ask the Spirit to help us do it!
And let us support each other in prayer.
Thank you to all who continue their support of the parish through electronic giving, mailing in their envelopes, or dropping the envelopes off in the black box outside the parish office. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it and how helpful it is to our community. Also, if there is any way the parish or I can help you as we struggle through this pandemic, please don’t hesitate to ask.
When we return to some kind of “normal,” we will need to discern one trustee and three pastoral council members. Please reflect if you are able to serve in one of these capacities, and if so, let me know. Reflect also on whom you might like to nominate. Thank you.
Why do we follow God’s commandments and rules? What is our motivation?
When I was a child, I did what my parents wanted me to do out of fear. I did not want to be punished. I obeyed the rules because I didn’t want extra housework, I didn’t want to be grounded, etc. As I grew older and out from under their control, maybe my motives for “following the rules” changed and maybe they didn’t. I still might obey the traffic laws because I don’t want a ticket or my license taken away. Or I might have internalized that obeying the traffic laws is the right thing to do to keep myself and others safe. If we examined our lives and actions, I bet we would find a blend of the two motives: fear and/or doing what is best for me and for others.
In our Gospel Jesus tells us that the best motive for keeping His commandments is love. Not fear of punishment like a small child but love. If you love me, you will keep my commandments. One challenge in our spiritual journey is to grow from being a Christian out of fear to being a Christian out of love. It isn’t easy.
Why don’t I steal things that will make my life better when I know I won’t be caught? Is it for fear of a harsh judgment when I die? Or is it out of respect for the rightful owner?
Why do I do my best to observe the sixth commandment? Is it for fear of a harsh judgment when I die? Or is it out of respect for myself and others?
Why do I participate in Mass on Sundays and holy days? Is it for fear of a harsh judgment when I die? Or is it in gratitude to the God who made me and has given me all I have?
I repeat what I said above: If we examined our lives and actions, I bet we would find a blend of the two motives: fear and/or doing what is best for me and for others. Spiritual growth involves growing in our ability to do what is right out of love, not fear. I invite us this week to reflect: how much am I driven by fear? How much by love? How can I grow to be more motivated by love? And let us support each other in prayer.
From now through June 7, 2020 each dollar you give to the Living Waters Fund will be doubled! A generous donor has come forward and offered to match all donations up to $10,000! Give now to build twice as many wells!
To donate, mail or drop-off your contribution to the parish office, or go to https://bit.ly/StPiusXDonations.
Thank you for your generous donations and prayers!
In the first chapters of Acts of the Apostles, we see a unified Church, fired up by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. In 2:44 we read, “all who believed were together and had all things in common.” In 4:22 we are told they were of “one heart and one mind.” But divisions in the Church already appear in our reading today from the sixth chapter of Acts. In earlier chapters, the Church consisted of all Jewish converts. Now it was a mixed community, with non-Jewish and Jewish Christians. The non-Jewish widows did not feel they were getting their fair share of support.
Notice what happened: first, the apostles called together the whole community to discuss the problem. Second, they had the community agree on a solution. Finally, the solution was implemented and the community moved forward.
My friends, where two or more are gathered, there will always be divisions. That is simply our human reality because we are different, have different priorities, and see things differently. Divisions are NOT the problem. The problem is blaming, gossiping behind someone’s back, undermining, etc., etc., instead of taking positive steps, as did the apostles, to arrive at a solution acceptable to all. The steps they followed are important: involve all, discuss openly, come to an agreement for the common good, and implement.
In our national politics we see the result when two sides are not able to dialog and come together for the common good. We are in deep trouble if the current pattern continues.
I invite us to reflect on the divisions or conflicts that are inevitably present in our lives. How do I approach them? Am I more like our politicians or more like the apostles in today’s reading? How can I become better at working to resolve divisions? As we struggle to do so, let us support each other in prayer. Let us also pray for our politicians, that they can learn to work together for the common good.
Happy Mother’s Day to all our mothers. Thank you for when you model God’s love for us, as you nurture your children.
Last Tuesday would have been Confirmation and this Sunday would have been First Communion. I feel badly for our children and young adults who need to wait for these sacraments, but I look forward to celebrating them with you, hopefully not in the too distant future.
I meant to put this paragraph in The Invitation letter I wrote for this week, but I forgot. On behalf of our community, I thank our staff members who continue to work diligently in their ministries: Dean Weyer, who stays on top of our finances and facilities; Kathy Wellenstein, who continues to make sure we have inspiring liturgies in an uplifting environment; Terese Neureuther, who keeps all our communications going; Neil Krumenauer, who keeps our plant clean and functioning; Lori Suarez and the school staff, who continue to educate our children virtually; and Sarah Daszczuk and Samantha El-Azem, who engage our children in religious education through various methods. Thank you for your continued dedication to your ministry.
This fourth Sunday of Easter is called Good Shepherd Sunday, because the readings present Jesus as the Good Shepherd.
When, as good Christians, we hear “Good Shepherd,” we automatically think of Jesus, who IS our Good Shepherd. He became one of us to show us how to live, to protect us from evil, to bring us back when we stray, and so on. He even gave His life for us.
But any Good Shepherd story has TWO characters: the shepherd and the sheep. It is helpful for us to reflect on ourselves in each of those roles.
Sheep: how am I as a sheep? Do I listen to the Shepherd? Do I let the Shepherd form my values and guide my actions? In what ways am I a good sheep and need to continue what I am doing? In what ways might I be the straying sheep who needs to be led back?
Good shepherd: often our Good Shepherd brings about His shepherding by using us. How open am I to being a good shepherd to others? When others look at me, do they see actions and values that are consistent with those of the Good Shepherd? Am I willing to inconvenience myself to be a good shepherd to others?
I invite us to reflect this week on how we are as sheep and shepherd.
May is the month of Mary, our mother. Let us pray to her in a special way this month that our Church and world can return to a new normal which better incorporates Gospel values, as we move forward toward the Kingdom.
Our Gospel this weekend is Luke’s long story, filled with details, of the encounter of two disciples with Jesus on the road to Emmaus.
Let’s imagine that the journey between Jerusalem and Emmaus, a journey of about 7 miles, is an analogy of our lives. The disciples knew where they were going in a physical sense, but not in the sense of the meaning of life. We are told they were downcast. They “had been hoping Jesus would be the one to redeem Israel.” Even though they were told of appearances of the risen Lord, they did not believe and were walking away from the whole situation. Returning to a former way of life, maybe?
Look what happens: Jesus approaches them and begins walking with them. Most importantly, the two disciples pay attention to Jesus and they begin to interact with Him. Ultimately, they take the initiative to invite Him to stay with them and that is when He takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to them: they come “to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread.” If they had not invited Him to stay, that would not have happened. My friends, Jesus is always walking with us. Do we recognize Him? Do we interact with Him on a regular basis? Do we give Him the opportunity to break the bread for us and help us as we walk through life?
All of this is a two-way street: Jesus is present to us but we have to acknowledge His presence and let Him in. That is why it is so important each day to take some quiet time to be with the Lord. We need to share what is happening in our lives and we need to listen in quiet so that He can speak to us.
The other part of this is “the breaking of the Bread.” The “Bread” is the Body of Christ and, when we come to Mass, we receive the Body of Christ both in the community (which is the Body of Christ) and in the sacramental Body of Christ, two great gifts which help us on our journey of life.
My prayer is that this extended period of not being able to partake of the Body of Christ, be it the community assembled or the Eucharist, will help us value these gifts more than ever. Then, once the opportunity is again available to us, we will make weekly participation with the community in the Eucharist a high priority.
Maybe that will be the blessing behind all of this: absence makes the heart grow fonder! May God continue to bless each of you. Be safe and let us remember to pray for one another.
I hope you had a blessed Easter, even if you could not be physically present at Mass and receive the Eucharist.
The Sunday after Easter has been designated “Divine Mercy” Sunday because our Gospel reading presents Jesus instituting the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a great sign of God’s mercy, by breathing on His disciples and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” No matter what we do, if we are truly sorry and confess our sins, the all merciful Father is waiting to forgive us.
Over the many years of hearing confessions, I have been struck many times by how we ourselves can block the full effect of God’s almost incomprehensible mercy, if we don’t follow these two steps:
Often it is not what we did that makes us miserable but our own inability to accept God’s forgiveness and forgive ourselves. When we can’t do those things, we are stuck. When we can accept God’s forgiveness and forgive ourselves, then we put the past behind us and move on. And you know what? The more we can accept God’s mercy and forgive ourselves, the easier it will be for us to forgive others, bringing peace both to ourselves and those around us.
On this Divine Mercy Sunday, let us thank God for the gift of His mercy and forgiveness and ask for the grace to be able to accept it and forgive ourselves.
As we hear in our second reading from the first letter of Peter, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. That, my friends, is the great message of Easter.
Let us support each other in prayer