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Fr Canova Reflection - April 22, 2018 - 4th Sunday in Easter (B)
 

4th Sunday in Easter – Cycle B

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

John 10:11-18

“I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me … I will lay down my life for the sheep.”

We are often asked to fill in questionnaires. Some forms have a religious belief section, in which you may be given a selection of choices. You can check one of the major religions, or indicate that you are an atheist, or you can choose SBNR. What is SBNR? It has become a popular choice in the last few years and it stands for "Spiritual But Not Religious." It’s somewhat understandable why many people choose this. They want something spiritual in their life but don't want to get involved with the rules and regulations and the controversies and scandals that can be associated with organized religion. Most probably, they avoid the effort of having to come to worship.

But on the other hand there are dangers in only being spiritual. People may become very individualistic, with themselves at the center of everything. Or they may get involved with weird ideas about the supernatural without the wisdom of the community to guide them.

What does our Catholic faith say about this? During this Easter season we are reading the Acts of the Apostles, which describes what happened at the beginning of the Church. First came Pentecost. You could not have a more spiritual occasion than this. The Holy Spirit comes with power in wind and fire to each of the apostles. In today's reading from Acts, St. Peter speaks filled with the Holy Spirit. The healing he has performed was only possible in the name of Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified and whom God raised from the dead. But how do we share in the power of the risen Christ? St. Peter did not tell the crowds at Pentecost just to enjoy themselves and let the Holy Spirit take them over. No, he told them that they must be baptized. They must become a member of the body of Christ, to join this community, the Church.

Religion has many weaknesses and at times is in need of reform, and sometimes we need it to give our spirituality a push in the right direction towards justice and charity, to preventing it becoming too self-centered.

Our Christian faith tells us that we are saved as individuals, but as part of a people or community. After baptism the early Christians shared their possessions with each other and broke bread together. It was a religious community. Being alone and spiritual is not defense enough to withstand those powers that tried to destroy Jesus. Jesus tells us in the Gospel today that we are called to be part of His flock. At the heart of this flock, this community is a God who shows His face in Jesus the good shepherd. He respects our freedom and nourishes and cares for us. He is willing to lay down His life for us when the wolf comes to attack. The hireling lets the sheep scatter because he is only interested in payment. Jesus will sacrifice His own life in order to bring His sheep together, united in the one fold.

Take, for example, Aaron Fies. There are many words that could be used to describe Aaron Feis: Selfless. Giving. Loyal. Resilient. But when it came to his everyday life at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, the word "ubiquitous" might fit best.

Coach Feis had an all-encompassing presence that both ath­letes and non-athletes knew and loved, a presence that extended beyond the school walls to the Parkland, Florida community. In a piece written for ESPN.com, not one friend or former player interviewed expressed surprise that Coach Feis ran toward the gunfire and take a bullet for the students at his school, the place where he played football, graduated in 1999 and returned to help his beloved community. They want everyone to know: This is who Aaron Feis was — every minute, every day.

Feis, a school security guard and assistant football coach at his high school alma mater, was one of 17 killed in the Ash Wednesday shootings at Stoneman Douglas. He died shielding two students from the gunfire. He was 37.

Feis — nobody ever called him Aaron — was a loving father and husband and coach — more than a coach, especially to kids at-risk. His colleagues and friends all said that Feis thought about others more than he thought about himself.

College recruiters also got to know Feis because he made it his business to know them. Feis wanted his players to find opportunities to keep playing. He spent countless hours making highlight DVDs for any player who'd ask. He did this on his own time, on the same salary he made as a school security guard. Feis would say to a college coach about one of his players, "Here's a DVD of a player who needs help. If he doesn't fit at your school, Coach, could you please talk to your other colleagues and help him find a home?" Feis helped get 50 to 70 players into college who might have fallen through the cracks.

Brower County Sheriff Scott Israel said of his friend, "Before you even heard how he died, you knew he died putting himself in harm's way to save others. That's who he was. [He died] run­ning toward danger while others were correctly running away from danger.

"Head coaches have come and gone [from Parkland] but what's the one constant? Big Feis. Kids would do more for Feis because they never wanted to let him down."

And Feis never let them down.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, Christ the Good Shepherd walks among us still in the lives of people like Coach Feis, whose love and compassion enable them to "lay down their lives" for their parishioners, their students, their patients, their soldiers, or the men­tally and physically challenged entrusted to their care. In Christ, we belong to one another; in imitating Christ, our lives are at the service of one another. On this Good Shepherd Sunday, may we give thanks for the courage and love of those who have laid down their lives for us and for others and seek for ourselves the grace to "lay down" our lives for the sake of justice and mercy for all the members of the "one fold" – the community – The church!

Mary, Queen of All Hearts, pray for us!

 

Fr Canova Reflection, April 15, 2018 - 3rd Sunday of Easter (B)
 

3rd Sunday in Easter – Cycle B

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Luke 24: 35-48

“You are witnesses of these things.”

Martin Scorsese's award-winning film entitlled Hugo is the story of an orphan living in Paris during the 1930s. The boy has inher­ited his late father's ability to fix and re-build things, from intricate clocks to sophisticated mechanical toys. After his father dies, Hugo is taken in by his drunkard uncle who is in charge of maintaining the clocks at the Paris train station. Hugo soon masters the maze of mechanisms and gears and keeps the clocks running with perfect precision long after Uncle Claude disappears. Rather than be forced to live in an orphanage, Hugo hides amid the station's ladders, catwalks and hidden passages.

A light pierces Hugo's lonely existence when he meets Isabel, the ward of a toy shop owner. Trusting Isabel, Hugo shows her his world of tools and gadgets, including an au­tomaton he has inherited from his father and is trying to fix. As he shows Isabel his secret view from the top of the great clock tower overlooking the City of Lights, Hugo muses:

"I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn't be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason...”

“Maybe that's why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do ... Maybe it's the same with people. If you lose your pur­pose ... it's like you're broken."

Today's Gospel from St. Luke follows the encounter the two disciples had with the risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus, where they had recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Now, these same two disciples have returned to Jerusalem, to the Upper Room where the Last Supper took place. All of the Apostles are hidden there, staying out of sight for fear that those who killed Jesus will soon be coming after them.

Jesus appears to them in that room and offers the peace that He alone can give. He reassures them they are seeing victory, not defeat - that He is truly risen. He is not a ghost and they are not hallucinating. He eats with them, and then gives them a detailed recounting of how prophesies from the Hebrew Scriptures have all been fulfilled by His suffering and death. The disciples' mission (and our mission) will be to go and tell others the very same truth – that God's plan of salvation did not take a detour at Calvary; instead it was the defining moment of victory.

Jesus calls them and us witnesses of these things, a point echoed by St. Peter in the Book of Acts. St. Peter has indeed become a witness. Before the Holy Spirit came upon him in wind and fire, he, like the others, hid himself from the public eye. Now - his fears replaced by faith in the Resurrection – St. Peter stands publicly as the rock of Christ's Church, challenging his listeners to repent, and inviting them to be baptized and share in Christ's victory over sin and death. This is our purpose! To witness to Jesus Christ crucified and risen!

My brothers and sisters in Christto find our life's purpose despite our brokenness is the chal­lenge of Lent and Easter. The story of the Crucified Jesus is a "schematic" for all of us on how to transform the crosses of our lives into vehicles of resurrection. Then and now, the resurrection of Jesus is disbelieved by some, and ignored by many. However, for those who have a lively faith in the Lord, they lean on the cross of Jesus, to realize, within the challenges of our days, the pur­pose of our lives. And we do this by offering and uniting our trials and tribulations to Our Lord’s suffering and death and thereby transforming those same crosses into occasions of grace and merit for saving souls and thus, store up for ourselves treasures in heaven.

The Resurrection then becomes an anchor that preserves our hope, even, and especially, during the darkest days of our lives. In the sacraments, and particularly in the Confessional, Jesus takes our fears away - the same way He did on the road to Emmaus and in the Upper Room. Like His disciples, we are then called to go and free others from their fears, by telling them the Good News that Christ has conquered death – and that a better life awaits them in heaven.

Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us!

Fr Lutz reflection April 15, 2018 - 3rd Sunday of Easter (B)
 

Fr Lutz Reflection

Dear Friends in Christ,
        Today's Bible readings deal with ignorance (Acts), knowledge (1 Jn), and understanding (Luke).   Living in an isolated and closed society, Catholics could perhaps afford to leave knowledge and understanding up to a priest.   But such a closed society of Catholics is a thing of the past.   Through the mass media everybody enters our home today.   We owe it to ourselves and others to be informed Christians.   Read on ... (The Attachment).
 
Fr. Joe Lutz

 

Elected/Selected Officers for 2017-18 Fraternal Year
 

Faithful Sir Knights,

The following SK’s were elected/selected as Officers, for the 2017-18 Fraternal Year.

Friar - Fr. Jonathan Bakkelund

Navigator - SK Ty Simmons

Captain - SK Tim Higgs

Pilot - SK Jason Lynch

Inner Sentinel  - SK Troy Kluber

Outer Sentinel - SK John Kunkel 

Year 1 Trustee - SK Leroy (Bud) Howatt

Year 2 Trustee - SK John Blozis

Year 3 Trustee - SK Rick Marsh

Purser - SK Tim Lyons

Scribe -  SK Bill Dugan

 

Comptroller - SK Jim Palicka  ( Appointed )

Admiral - SK Don Galloy  ( Appointed )

Color Corps Commander SK Troy Gower (Appointed)