A Message from Father William

Happy Easter! We’re in the midst of the Easter Season, which we celebrate for 50 days, until Pentecost Sunday, which is May 23rd this year, when we will solemnly commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Jesus’ Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the Upper Room. As He called them, so God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit called the disciples on the road to Emmaus, to recognize Him in His Word and in His Holy Eucharist – and as they gave witness to Jesus in Jerusalem, He called other disciples to follow Him (Luke 24:13-49), and now calls us to be His disciples, His witnesses in the world.

As we get through and past the pandemic, I keep praying that we have developed an increased longing for the Eucharist, to physically attend Mass in church, if we’re able, and to literally receive Jesus Christ in the mystery of Holy Communion – and that we’re more aware of what really matters in the life that God has given us here on earth: faith, hope, love, our relationship with God, our families and friends, and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of the world. In this Easter Season, we might ask: What does it mean to be “Resurrection-disciples,” disciples of Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead? Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (Seek That Which is Above), Pope Francis (The Joy of the Gospel) and Bishop Donald Hying (Go Make Disciples initiative in the Diocese of Madison) give us some guidance:

One of the first messages of the Risen Lord, communicated by means of the angels and the women is: Come, follow me; I am going before you! Resurrection-disciples step forward in faith, hope and love to follow Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Saint John and Saint Luke state very clearly where and how Christ has gone and where we are to follow Him: to Heaven (John 20; Acts 1-2). Jesus Christ tells Mary Magdalene and all the disciples to hold on to and follow Him in His Church, Word, Sacraments and prayer. That is why Christian Scripture and Tradition deliberately speaks of following Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead and ascended into Heaven. We follow, not a dead man, but the living Christ, without compromises, in faithful holy boldness (Acts 4:23-31). Resurrection-disciples embrace the Cross and the Resurrection and Christ’s divine Sonship, accepting the entire path
of Jesus Christ, focused on Heaven, our eternal home, on that which is above, the divine things that are truly real: truth, faith, hope, love, and our being children of God.

Discipleship means that we answer God’s call to us to repent, be converted, and keep His Commandments (Acts 3:13-19; 1 John 2:1-5); Jesus tells us directly to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins, in His Name, to be witnesses to His Passion, Death and Resurrection (Luke 24:35-48). Resurrection-disciples step forward in genuine selflessness as children of God to communicate the joy, truth, beauty and goodness of the Lord that the world so urgently needs. As Jesus’ disciples, we have a duty to manifest the fruits of the Holy Spirit – joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) – in our words and deeds, as we strive by God’s grace to live the greatest of all the virtues, Love, witnessing to the two great Commandments, love of God and love of neighbor.

As we get through this pandemic, by God’s grace, let’s keep praying for all who have died, for all who have suffered and continue to suffer from its effects in physical, mental, emotional, material and spiritual ways, as we pray for God’s healing, courage, strength and peace for us all. Please be assured of my prayers for you and your families every day, especially at Mass. By God’s grace, may we faithfully and joyfully follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, as Resurrection-disciples, giving witness to Him in our words and deeds, asking for His mercy, being merciful and completely trusting in Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of the world. Amen! Alleluia!

With peace and prayers in Christ,
Fr. William