Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.

Thank you to all who offered Sarah’s name up in prayer yesterday. All went well with her testing and now we wait until Friday to find out the results. Because of my work load, I wasn’t able to get her to the hospital or pick her up, but thanks to our daughter Mary and one of Sarah’s closest friends – Ellen – and her sister Ann, they were all able to fill in for me and keep Sarah calm throughout the ordeal.

While sitting at my desk yesterday, I wanted to keep up with the Inauguration so I was streaming a number of sources during the morning and afternoon. I watched as President Trump left the White House and then give his final farewell at Joint Base Andrews’. I then had to switch over to YouTube – of all sources – to get an uninterrupted, non-commentary coverage of the event. I will say I about gagged when I first say the dress Lady Gaga chose to wear but then she started singing the National Anthem and man, what a beautiful voice. Watching all of this yesterday brought me to my thoughts and the I guess the point of this post. Faith in God. Curious as to how I came to that thought? I know I’m going to struggle with some, who am I kidding, most of the policies that President Biden is going to present and pass through Congress or sign as an executive order. I struggle with the head of my Church, who is the Shepherd of the flock on earth, and some of what he speaks to or represents. To be quite honest, I struggled with the machismo of President Trump. But through all of theirs faults, through all of my faults, I am forced to me to examine daily what, who, why it is holy and just all of what I believe to be holy and just. I hope that make sense. I’ll trying putting this in other words. Whenever I don’t agree with someone or something, it drives me to look closer at what I believe in, to delve deeper into educating myself, to self examine if my belief is true or misguided. One quick example…I used to believe/support capital punishment, but after many years of prayer and listening to both sides of the argument, it is not a form of punishment that I either believe in or support any longer. It is now my belief that it does not support my stance on pro-life issues.

So now, when I hear President Biden talk about what he finds to be important and just, when the Holy Father Pope Francis preaches about environmental issues, social issues that don’t seem to make sense to me, I must challenge myself and dig deep into my self-conscious to see if their argument is true or if mine is. The bottom line to all of this is really quite simple. My purpose here on earth is to follow and fulfill the will of God that He has chosen for me. It isn’t President Trump, President Biden or even Pope Francis who will decide for me what is right and wrong – it is my faith in God and my complete trust in Him that will guide me, educate me and determine for me with is Truth and what is fiction.

As a Christmas gift from St. Mary Magdalen parish, we were all given a book of inspirational quotes by Mother Teresa. I want to share with you today’s quote…

The world is changed by your example, not your opinion. Mother Teresa

Do something great for our Lord today – challenge yourself – physically, mentally, spiritually. And in that challenge, look to God to assist you and you’ll find in doing that, there isn’t any challenge you can’t overcome.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

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.

Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people.

Good morning God. I’ve got one more disease for you to cure. Can you heal my wife from her Parkinson’s? Lord, I pray everyday for her well being and this morning I wake just a little bit stressed – no, a whole lot stressed – about her test that is scheduled for today. It is my deepest hope that You be with her throughout this test, give her the strength and courage necessary to do all that is required of her today. Just as Jesus cured the man in today’s Gospel, it is my wish that you cure my wife too. Lord, if You wish, You can make her clean. This woman means more to me than any words on this post could possibly express. She is my gift from You and I know if I place her well being in Your hands, all will be well. Be with her today so I can be with her always.

Do something great for our Lord today – place all your worries, all your stresses, all that ails you into His command. He will provide what you need – have faith.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

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.

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.

Today’s message is rather simple but rather important. Pray for peace – in our world; in our nation; in our local communities; in our families and in our hearts.

Do something great for our Lord today – be the instrument of peace He was, is and always will be for us.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

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.

So they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon.

Again, I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve heard that Gospel proclaimed to me. But in listening to Msgr. Ramacciotti homily following that, it wasn’t until yesterday that the message of that Gospel came to light in my mind. Msgr. asked us and now I ask you – does it really matter what time of the day it was? It did to John. It was the first time that John saw the Messiah – the Chosen One – and it changed his life forever on that day about four in the afternoon.

As Msgr. pointed that out, my mind began to drift about when it was that I truly encountered Christ for the first time. It was on my Junior Retreat while at Prep North. We had just finished dinner and Msgr. Telthorst asked us all to go back to the Chapel (at the Marianist Retreat Center on Highway 109). It was dark and he led a meditation for all of us. He asked us to find a quiet place in the Chapel and proceeded to talk to us, using a method of concentrating all of our stress into one single point on our body and then letting it go. After going through that, he began a reflection on Jesus and his ministry and the importance of having a personal relationship with Him. At one point he asked us to think about a favorite place and to imagine ourselves at that place and to invite Jesus to come there. And then…

It was about eight in the evening and I was on a huge swing that was on a bluff overlooking a body of water. As I was swinging I fealt somebody pushing me and when I turned my head to look – it was Jesus there pushing. It was the most powerful religious experience to see Him there with me and we talked to each other about just everything. It was that evening of our last night on retreat that I received Jesus into my heart and made Him a personal friend of mine. Just as John witnessed the time in yesterday’s Gospel (because how do you ever forget a moment as powerful as witnessing the Messiah), I too can remember vividly the day, the moment I came to know Jesus personally.

Have you had that experience?

Do something great for our Lord today – recall the time it was when you “first saw” the Messiah. If you haven’t yet, today is no better time than to start that personal relationship with Jesus. I can tell you from experience, you’ll remember that time forever.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

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.

So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

No better time than now to approach that throne of Grace – God’s grace. This a time when I believe we are ALL in need of mercy. Not the mercy anyone here on earth can offer us but only the healing grace and mercy that can be found in God.

Again, as I said yesterday, this has been a very challenging week for Sarah and I. What I’m writing about this morning goes beyond any physical or mental stress we are dealing with – there many, many things going on that prove to me that Satan is alive and well in this day and age. Young children in such despair that death sounds more promising than life; a division in our Country where there seems to be only right and wrong and damned be those who don’t believe in what is said to be right or wrong. But much like the Church, my walls will not fail – they will stand strong – to Satan’s hatred, to Satan’s empty show. If I have learned anything in my 56+ years of Catholic faith, it is that my hope in God, my trust in God, my love of God is all the armor that I need to fight and defeat these evils.

Laws, decrees, precepts, commands, fear, ordinances – do those sound like the words of hope and promise? Well, this may come as a bit of a surprise, but they do and they are. Take a look at our Psalm from this morning readings

R.    (see John 6:63c)  Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
    refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
    giving wisdom to the simple.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
    enlightening the eye.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
    enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
    all of them just.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
    find favor before you,
    O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R.    Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

When it is God who defines your laws, your decrees, your precepts, your commands, your fear, your ordinances – all of those words lead to perfection, trust, righteousness, clearity, purity – now those are words to live by because God’s words are Spirit and Life.

In this time of trouble, I am reminded of a song Sarah and I have done many times for funeral Masses – from John 14:1* “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith* in God; have faith also in me.2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?3* And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.a4Where [I] am going you know the way.”*

Do something great for our Lord today – live by His words; trust in His works; do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith that Jesus is here to show you the way.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

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.

What we have heard and know, and what our fathers have declared to us, we will declare to the generation to come The glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength.

It has been an emotional week this week. It has been a challenging week to say the least. My wife has had a few set backs this week and we are still working through the emotions that come with that. I don’t want to share to specifically what these setbacks are until she is more open to sharing them, but it’s never too early to ask for prayers. In the same manner, it has been an emotional time for our Country as well. It doesn’t matter to me what side of the political spectrum you fall into, if you aren’t challenged by today’s political climate you are much stronger man than I right now. So where does one go to in time like this; where does one find comfort, rest, courage, inspiration? I can offer that answer in three simple letters. Three simple letters that offer more mystery, more complexity, more strength, more comfort, more hope than all the good in this world can offer. Man? Close – I am asking for your prayers. But there is only one three letter word that will save us from the challenges my wife faces, the challenges we all face – and that three letter word is GOD. It is in God that my wife will find all of the things necessary to keep moving on with life. It is in God that I will find the courage to help her keep moving on. It was in God that our Country was founded. It is in God that we will all find the courage to keep on living. I believe that might be the message of Today’s Readings too…

Let us be on our guard
while the promise of entering into his rest remains,
that none of you seem to have failed.
For in fact we have received the Good News just as our ancestors did.
But the word that they heard did not profit them,
for they were not united in faith with those who listened.
For we who believed enter into that rest

For we who believe now will enter into that rest…

R.    Do not forget the works of the Lord!
That they too may rise and declare to their sons
that they should put their hope in God,
And not forget the deeds of God
but keep his commands.

That we should put our hope in God…and keep His commands.

But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”
–he said to the paralytic,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once, 
and went away in the sight of everyone.
They were all astounded
and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

Jesus had the power to forgive, to heal, to cure and when all saw this, they glorified God. Jesus still has that power and when my wife is healed from what is ailing her, we too shall glorify God in His kindness towards her. When our Country turns back to God – and not man – we will then find the unity we all want and desire. Until that time, I/we pray for the strength to remain faithful to God and trusting in His holy will for Sarah and for Country.

Do something great for our Lord today – turn to Him in your time of need. God made you in His image, in His likeness and loves you more than you will ever know. He will not abandon you in your time of need. Seek His love today; seek His comfort and His strength. Read and meditate on the mantra’s that I have listed below…I have adopted them and live by them on a daily basis. They are a great source of comfort for me in trying times such as this.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Jesus, I trust in You.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

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.

And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

And the final homily this week was given to us on Sunday by Fr. Rothchild. It was a significant day for him to celebrate this feast day at the very church he was baptized in just a few years (possibly) decades ago. Again, it will be the same link as Monday and Tuesday but his homily starts at 4:28:38 into the video.

Do something great for our Lord today – you decide, but make it great.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

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.

On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.

Sunday’s 9:30AM Mass was a true treat for me. It is a rare occasion that I get to attend a Mass offered by my Uncle – Father Bob Dorhauer, but Sunday was one of those rare occasions. Today’s reflection is his homily given at that Mass. Same link as yesterday – his homily starts at the 2:28:36 mark of the video.

Do something great for our Lord today – contemplate the mystery of the Triune God revealed to us once again on Sunday. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

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.

In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.

One of the benefits of being a music director is that I get to hear several interpretations of the Gospel in our Sunday homilies. With our Pastor on vacation this past Sunday, we had 4 different priests celebrate the Mass for us. All four homilies were exceptional and I am going to spend the better part of this week sharing them with you…today’s homily was given to us by Msgr. Cronin at the 7:30AM Mass yesterday. Hit the link here and go to the 26:40 mark to hear his homily.

Do something great for our Lord today – pray for our Country and for peace.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

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.

Archbishop Carroll wrote the following prayer for our newly formed government on November 10, 1791, to be recited in parishes throughout his diocese. The text of the prayer below is taken from the National Catholic Register.

After all that has happened this week, I’ve retreated into the background and I’m trying to take in all that is going on, sift through the news and try to come to grips with all of this. I told myself not to blog for the rest of the week and start it up again next week…until I read this email I received this morning. My post will consist of sharing this prayer with you this morning…please read and share with everyone you know too.

Let us pray:  

We pray, O almighty and eternal God, who through Jesus Christ has revealed thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of your name.

We pray Thee, who alone are good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, the pope, the vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, all other bishops, prelates and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise among us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct your people into the ways of salvation.

We pray O God of might, wisdom and justice, through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with your Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the president of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness and be eminently useful to your people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality.

Let the light of your divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state, for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by your powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise, to your unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of your most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

Finally, we pray to you, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of your servants departed, who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance. To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech you, a place of refreshment, light and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.

Amen.