May they all be one as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that the world may believe that you sent me, says the Lord.

This prayer comes to mind after reading today’s Gospel.  We recite this prayer every Sunday and every time we prayer a Rosary.  Join me this morning in reflecting on this prayer…the true prayer defining my faith, our faith.

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit
was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake
he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven and is seated
at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord,
the giver of life, who proceeds
from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic
and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection
of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Do something great for our Lord today – believe.  Just as Jesus prays for our unity in our Gospel today, pray too for that unity amongst us now more than ever.  Say to yourself throughout the day – I believe; I believe; I believe.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God, chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

Your word, O Lord, is truth; consecrate us in the truth.

I’ve been thinking of my dad a lot lately.  On Sunday, my wife and some of the family met out at Jefferson Barracks to visit his “resting” place, maybe that’s why he’s been in my thoughts this morning.  Or maybe after reading today’s Gospel, he’s been in my thoughts to help explain the Gospel to me.  My dad was never one to go into too much detail when giving us instructions or when we asked questions growing up – most the of the time these two things happened in the same conversation.

Dad…”Jerry, go clean your room.”

Me…”Why Dad?”

Dad…”Because.”

Me…”Dad, how is that you and Mom had 7 children and I got placed smack dab in the middle of them?”

Dad…”Because.”

Me…”Dad, why do we have to go to 7:30 Mass on Sunday, sit in the front pew and answer all the prayers and sing all the songs?”

Dad…”Because.”

And so when I finished reading the Gospel this morning and was thinking to myself what Jesus’ prayer meant to His Father and what this means to me, I could hear my dad whispering in my ear…because.

And then it hit me…sometimes “because” is explanation enough.  Sometimes I’m not smart enough yet to fully comprehend a more detailed answer and “because” will have to do.

Ask my kids, I have the cleanest bedroom in the house; ask my co-workers, I have the cleanest office at work.  Why?  Now I know a clean room/office helps me relax; it keeps my mind clear at work that I can think about the task at hand instead of looking around and being distracted by things out of place.  It calms my nerves at the end of the day to retreat into a clean room and get the rest I need to face the next day.  In short – because.

Sitting in the front pew at church taught me that there are a whole lot less distractions when the only thing you have to look at is the Altar.  Over time,maybe from sitting in the front pew, I came to love the beauty and tradition of my Catholic faith and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and still to this day have a deep love for my faith.

I’d love to tell you I’ve figured out all of the deeper meanings of “because” but I’m still trying to figure out how I was number 4 of 7…I will just have to live with that “because” a little while longer.

And so it is today that I may not be able to give the full meaning of the Gospel but I do know this.  The Gospel is the Word of God; The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; the Word is the Truth and it was the Word that prayed for us this morning; to this there is no dispute.  So when Christ speaks to me and I don’t fully understand, I still follow.  Why?  My dad on earth and my Father in heaven said BECAUSE.

Do something great for our Lord today – because.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

 

 

 

 

 

If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

Our Gospel this morning ties in beautifully with what was proclaimed to us in yesterday’s Gospel.  In Msgr. Ramacciotti’s homily yesterday, he reflected on the following statement recorded in yesterday’s Gospel…

The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.

When they saw HIM, they worshiped.  What would you do if you saw Christ in the flesh, having arisen from the dead; appearing to you again in flesh and blood?I’m sure you too would worship.  Msgr.’s reflection was on the next statement…but they doubted.  After all the miracles, after suffering the scourging and death on the Cross; after rising from the dead and coming back to them in His resurrected body – they still doubted who He was?  Msgr. thinks the line but they doubted was not meant to reflect on if they believed in Christ or not, it was meant to mean that they doubted themselves in carrying on the mission Christ had ordained them to do.  They didn’t doubt Christ – they doubted themselves.  But once Christ breathed on them, gifted them with the Holy Spirit, how that doubt changed.  We have been reading about this the entire Easter season.  They no longer doubted.  They no longer feared.  They were no longer ashamed to shout from the mountain tops that Jesus Christ was the Savior promised by God.  And they shared their strength, their wisdom, their love of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to anyone who would listen.  They converted the unfaithful by the thousands.  They inspired many people along the way to do the same and that tradition, that spirit of evangelizing still continues today.  They were willing to die, without fear, to make sure this message was proclaimed.

So let’s look at our Gospel being proclaimed to us today…

The disciples said to Jesus,
“Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech.
Now we realize that you know everything
and that you do not need to have anyone question you.
Because of this we believe that you came from God.”
Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now?
Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived
when each of you will be scattered to his own home
and you will leave me alone.
But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
I have told you this so that you might have peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble,
but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone…In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.

Each of you will be scattered to his own home…does this sound eerily familiar today?  Are we experiencing that doubt now that was professed to us yesterday?  I believe we are.  But take courage, be stouthearted and have faith.  What is faith?  I don’t know if I am the true authority on faith but you can look it up online and find a number of ways to define it.  Faith, simply put, is trusting in something with the confidence that is is true.  Want some biblical backup?  Click this.

In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world…Christ has conquered the world for us.  Christ has gifted to us the Holy Spirit so that we too can conquer this world;  that we too can conquer our doubts; that we too can have the faith of Abel, Abraham, Moses, the Twelve Apostles, the Communion of Saints, our Blessed Mother, St. Joseph.  Faith tells me that all of these people had doubts about their role in Salvation History; faith also tells me that they all conquered their doubts, that each one of them came out of their own scattered homes and that they came to believe in God’s mission.  We are now called to do the same.  As I say to each of you every morning I post…

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Do something great for our Lord today – trust in God and trust in His mission for you.  Do not doubt your abilities but believe that you too can do the good works God has ordained you to do.  Let us not be scattered anymore, let us have faith in God alone.  Live your life honoring God.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments, we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

For king of all the earth is God; sing hymns of praise. God reigns over the nations, God sits upon his holy throne.

I woke up this morning and started my little morning ritual.  I looked at Instagram and watched the silliness of my children; I “LinkedIn” and read about different things going on in the business world and then I went to Twitter to read about other worldly matters.  I saw a quote that Rocco Palmo (posted on Twitter) about an anonymous bishop railing on the President for pushing to have Churches opened again; the bishop went as far as to call the President a pagan (and did this as anonymous).  As most people who know me know that I have gotten out of politics; I don’t like the way the left and the right divide the Country and if you follow any news, any social media outlets, the Country is divided.  I am conservative and I am Catholic and that is the extent of how I vote.  Did I vote for Donald Trump?  Yes.  Will I vote for Donald Trump again?  Yes.  Do I like all of the “chutzpah” of Donald Trump?  Not necessarily.  So what is it about Donald Trump that makes me called to vote for him again.  Whether you agree with me or not, whether you like the man or not, President Trump has done more in his time as President to help the Pro-Life movement move forward in their fight against abortion that the entire Pro-Life movement has done for itself in their 48 years of existence.  Again, this is the humble opinion of this blogger.  You can agree or disagree with this comment, but that is why I will vote for him again.

So when I read the comment about Trump being a pagan, something inside of me went off and made my mind go to a quote from a movie I’ve never seen before.  Work of the Holy Spirit?  I won’t go that far.  I just remember hearing this quote from something/somewhere in the past and thought it fit rather well into the environment of the day.  What is the quote?  “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” from the 1976 movie Network.

So again, let me make this clear.  I hate politics.  I hate the divisions in our Country right now.  Yesterday I talked about being able to pray and heal someone in need.  I think I know what it is I’m need to pray for and that is the divisions in our Country to be healed.  This Country was founded on religious freedoms; our currency carries the motto “In God We Trust”; many of our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends  have paid the ultimate sacrifice for these “truths we hold to be self evident” and we honor them for that ultimate sacrifice this holiday weekend.

In as much as this post this morning sounds “political”, it is not meant to be that way.  My faith teaches me to love life, to love mankind, to love God above all things.  Today’s responsorial psalm sums up my political beliefs rather nicely…God is king of all the earth.  It really is that simple for me.  What complicates the matter is living in this world; it seems to be quite the challenge in these days of political and religious turmoil.  I recall the line from one of the readings last weekend…For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.  And so it is that I will continue in my beliefs and will continue to do what I believe is right in the eyes of God; God’s will for me to pursue.

Do something great for our Lord today – All you peoples, clap your hands; shout to God with cries of gladness.  For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth.  God is king of all the earth.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.

Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.

How many of us are guilty for asking God to give us the winning lottery ticket – in Jesus’ name?  “Dear God, I promise to do so much good with the money – I’ll fund charities; I’ll give to the poor; I’ll buy a new house with a Lucas Lagoons swimming pool so all who know me can enjoy my company in comfort; a new Tesla so I can help save the environment too; a few new clothes so I can donate my existing wardrobe to Goodwill or St. Vincent DePaul.  In Jesus’ name I ask this of You.  Amen.”  How has that worked out for you?  I can tell you for me, I’m sitting here at  5:30 AM typing this so I can be to work on time this morning.  I don’t think that is what Jesus was trying to tell us in the Gospel this morning.

My humble take on His message this morning is that I need to have a full conversion into His love.  I need to seek Him as my source for everything.  I pray for that full conversion every morning as part of my intentions when praying the Rosary.  To be quite honest, I’m not there yet.  How do I know?  Because I still think of me first in a lot of things.  When I come home from work, the first thing I ask of my family is what did you make ME for dinner; maybe I should try what are WE having for dinner.  How about asking everyone how THEIR day went instead of asking if anyone cared how MY day went?  Maybe giving my success at work a nod to God’s grace instead of a nod to my business savvy.  Christ never thought of Himself before others.  I am trying to abandon this ego of mine that defaults to me first but learns to focus on Christ’s mission for me here on earth and what I can do to help others.  My ultimate goal quite frankly would be able to pray for the healing of someone in need – ask for their healing thru God – and for them to be cured.  I know this is possible because Jesus gave us the power to heal.  Anything we ask of God through Christ our mediator will be granted to us.  I think the key to achieve that full conversion is to place all our trust in God. He can/will do this (full conversion) and  when He does, we need to be able to give all the praise and thanks to God.  And so I continue on my path to that full conversion.  With the grace of God it will happen; with the love of Christ I will be come that Man of Faith I need to be; with the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit may it happen sooner than later.

Do something great for our Lord today – pray for that full conversion.  And if in that full conversion you happen to win the lottery, don’t forget that I was praying for you too.  Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.

Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights. Praise him, all you his angels; praise him, all you his hosts.

Today will be short and sweet.  I am posting for you an obituary of one of my mentor’s.  It may seem strange to do this, but this woman was the epitome of Praise the Lord from the heavens.  She dedicated her entire life to that…rest in peace Mrs. Weissert.  May the choir of angels come to meet you, may they speed you to paradise where you can now join them in their endless song of praise.

Weissert, Joan Marie (Burkhart), age 87, baptized into the hope of Christ’s resurrection, Tuesday, May 12, 2020. Joan began her lifelong teaching career as Sister Marie Elise, a School Sister of Notre Dame. She impacted countless students as both a classroom teacher and, most notably, a music teacher. Joan’s vocal talents and coaching inspired quite a few of her high school students to begin their own careers in music. She spent time as the choir directress at Christ Prince of Peace Church, and she was a well-known liturgist and liturgy clinician at numerous churches in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Music was a central part of Joan’s life. In fact, she and Bob, her husband of 50 years, met on a blind date, set up by a mutual friend who suspected their love of music and dedication to Christ would allow them to form a quick bond. Clearly it did. In addition to the many musicals and school performances she coordinated, Joan often enjoyed attending performances by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and she never missed a chance to witness her children’s musical performances. She and Bob regularly traveled to the University of Kansas to attend their daughter Laurie’s band concerts, and when they had the opportunity to hear Christie sing, they jumped at it. Anyone who knew Joan can easily imagine the tears of delight she shed while listening to her grandson, Nathan, play the violin.

While her children were growing up, Joan greatly enjoyed planning the details of her family’s yearly vacations to destinations across the United States. Many of her family’s strongest and most lasting memories come from these trips together. After they retired, Joan became a world traveler with Bob, visiting locations across Europe and Alaska. As her traveling days slowed down, Joan’s true pride and joy became spending time with her grandchildren, Nathan and Lilli, whom she loved boundlessly.

Joan was the beloved wife of Robert C. Weissert; dear mother of Christie (Jonathan) Hart and Laura (Scott) Tacke; loving grandmother of Nathan Hart and Lilli Tacke; dear sister of Jim (Judy) Burkhart, Don (Tina) Burkhart, Tom (Jean) Burkhart and Bob (Debbie) Burkhart. She was preceded in death by her parents Edward and Elsie (nee Appelbaum) Burkhart and brothers Eddie (Janet) Burkhart and Jack Burkhart.

Do something great for our Lord today – find a teacher who made an impression on you and thank them for their inspiration.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.

Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy upon their couches. Let the high praises of God be in their throats. This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.

Yesterday’s second reading is still ringing through my mind this morning.  Do you recall it’s primary message?  Take another glance at it this morning…

Beloved:
Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.  Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.  For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil. 

For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God.  Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope…For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

Can you explain to anyone who asks your reason for hope?

Are you willing to suffer for doing good?

What is my reason for hope?  I can explain this in one word…LIFE.  I can remember being a young child in grade school and the teacher in religion class asked of us if we were afraid of dying.  When it was my turn to respond, I remember saying that I wasn’t afraid of death but I was not ready to die as of yet.  I enjoy being on earth too much.  I still feel that way today.  God has blessed me with so much that I still feel that my purpose here on earth has yet to be fulfilled but knowing that if I continue to live in God’s love, to live by the commandments He set forth, I will have eternal life with Him once I am done living here on earth.  That is my HOPE and it is that HOPE that makes life here on earth so special.  I find HOPE in my wife, my children, my family, my friends, my coworkers at Bell Electrical.  I find HOPE in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and I love being able to lead my fellow parishioners in the music used to sing praise to God.

As far as the second question goes, I find hope and inspiration in so many people in my life who are willing to fight daily for their life, who are willing to suffer and endure the pain of fighting cancer because of their love for LIFE.  My Aunt Jackie, my brother Jeff, my sister-in-law Cheri, my brother-in-law Marc, my friends David, Ellen, Sandy and so many others who fight this battle daily with grace and a strength of spirit that inspires me to fight my little battles that come along.  They too are my hope because in their courage to battle this illness, in their courage to endure this pain, in their willingness to suffer, they offer me a glimpse into the love Christ showed for all of us when He suffered and died on the Cross to save me.  They too are my HOPE; may God bless them each day that they suffer this pain; may God give them comfort in their battle.

Do something great for our Lord today…think about what is is that gives you hope so that when you are asked this question, you too may respond with gentleness and reverence.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments, we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.