A Message from Father William

During the forty days between Easter Sunday and the Ascension of Jesus Christ, the Church instructs us to keep focused on Heaven, the final resting place to which Our Lord is calling us. May we become more aware of this instruction as we approach the celebration of the day on which Jesus, God the Son, went up to the right hand of God the Father (Rev. Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God). (In the Diocese of Madison and some other dioceses, Ascension Thursday, the 40th day after Easter Sunday, May 13th this year, is celebrated on the subsequent Sunday, May 16th this year.)

Before His Ascension, our Lord Jesus Christ had promised His disciples that He would be with them forever (Matthew 28) – a promise He kept through His presence in His Church, Word and Sacraments. His presence continued when He went up in His glorious body to His Father, because, by His Passion, Death and Resurrection, He has prepared for us a place in His Father’s House (John 14:1-31). “I will come back again,” Jesus said, “and take you to Myself, so that where I am you also may be” (John 14:3). Indeed, on the Last Day, God will raise our mortal bodies to be like His own, in glory, reuniting our body and soul in Heaven. This is the Faith and Hope that God has given us and we proclaim when we profess that we believe in and look forward to the resurrection of the body and eternal life in Heaven (Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed).

In our journey toward Heaven, our purpose in life, we are strengthened by the Eucharist, where Jesus Christ is truly, really and substantially present. God also strengthens, guides and directs His Church through His gift of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate (John 14:23-29). Such strength and grace enable us to dutifully respond by following the Lord, Who has loved us first, and to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves (the two Great Commandments). In Saint John’s Gospel this Sunday, Jesus Christ tells us to remain in His love by keeping His Commandments (John 15:9-17). Last Sunday (John 15:1-8), Jesus told us to remain in Him, that He is the one true vine, God the Father is the vine grower, and we are the branches. We remain in Him, in His love, when we pray, receive Him in Holy Communion and in the other Sacraments, read His Word, follow His teachings, and keep His Commandments (John 15; 1 John 3:18-24).

Jesus gives us commands so that His joy may be in us and our joy might be complete, as He says, “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you” (John 15) – indeed,
whoever is without love does not know God, for God is Love (1 John 4). When we think and pray about Heaven, it helps us to love as God has loved us – love that brings joy and life, that transforms everything we say and do, even the most mundane moments, realizing that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is present at every moment, sanctifying our words and deeds. It is then that we can realize evermore deeply His peace, a peace that the world cannot give and the world cannot take away (John 14:27). Amen. Alleluia.

With peace and prayers in Christ,
Fr. William

Let us continue praying for one another with thanksgiving to God for 20 of our children who received their First Holy Communion the past two Sundays, for 15 of our young people who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this Sunday, and for our moms, living and deceased, as we celebrate Mother’s Day on May 9th. We ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Savior Jesus Christ, to intercede for us in a special way during this month of May: Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, pray for us. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.