Sunday, May 24, 2020

A Rising Son

Sunday - The Ascension of the Lord - leaving His disciples - going to Heaven - to take His seat at the right hand of his Father.  Like we mere mortals - after spending some time in apprenticeship - we move from student to crafts person - educated in the ways of whatever craft we have selected.  Spending some thirty - three years living among His people - God experiencing humanity through the life of Jesus - better prepared to understand how people - think - feel - tick.  Although God has all knowledge - His gift of Free Will - a variable He could not know - until He became man himself - experienced it for Himself in daily life.  In that time - He listened - reasoned - debated - with the very people He gave life to.  Completing His apprenticeship - His time on Earth completed - time to return to His Father. 

Deacon Don - Father Dan - Deacon Jerry - Deacon Dale at Deacon Jerry's Ordination

So it is and will be with us.  Our lives are short - compared to time itself - each one of us is here - on Earth - living lives as full as we chose to fill them.  Some end their lives - relatively empty - having acquired little while they were alive.  Others - like my good friend - Deacon Jerome Heitschmidt - who died May 15th - left this life completely filled.  Filled with the  experiences he shared with his family - his wife - his friends.  Deacon Jerry was a leader - filled his personal life and the lives of all who knew him with prayer - joy - celebration of all that God gives each of us.  Because of Deacon Jerry - many programs were started - given new life - because of the energy he brought into those programs.  The lives he touched - all better now because he took the time - interest - in others.  Deacon Jerry - now ascended to his heavenly reward - definitely used his gift of Free Will to accept Jesus as his savior - freely choosing ordination to become a deacon - freely electing to serve God's people in Illinois - California - Internationally.   To Deacon Jerry I owe many thank yous for encouraging me to travel to Israel with him which led to a pilgrimage ministry which has flourished over ten years.  It was on pilgrimage to the Holy Land - when we walked in the steps of Jesus - along with our wives and during our private pilgrimage to Poland where we discovered churches in Poland not normally visited when on pilgrimage.  His constant smile - a gift to all - will remain with each of us.  Like Jesus - our brother Deacon Jerry now - rising to heaven to take his place at the altar of the Lord.  Rest in Peace - Good and Faithful Servant - until we meet again.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Way

In the earliest days of Christianity - before the official Church was established - those who followed Jesus - the earliest disciples - did not identify themselves as Christians.  They were Jews - Jews when Jesus called them by name to follow Him - Jews in their observance of Jewish laws - customs - Jews after the crucifixion.  It was not until later - after Jesus' death - that they were challenged by authorities to define just who they were - Jews or some new cult.  As Christ followers they were still Jews and as such bound by Jewish laws.  In an effort to honor Jesus' words at the Last Supper - they had to find another time - place - where they could - "do this in memory of me".  At first they attended Shabbat - the recognized Jewish time and place of worship of God on Saturday.  Adding the commemoration of the Last Supper - moved onto Sunday - to avoid conflict with existing Jewish law.  For a time - they attended both services - eventually leaving Shabbat - attending only the developing service worshiping God trough Jesus' teachings.  This new worship - still not labeled as Christianity - became known as the - Way.  Initially because of extreme persecution - a new cult - not an established religion - an underground movement.  Those seeking to learn - attend services - under whispered breath - asked how - where - was The Way.

In today's Holy Scripture - Jesus once again - tells His disciples that He is The Way.  Simple enough - hard enough to comprehend - understand fully - just what that meant - still means to us today.  Jesus told His disciples - no one could come to the Father without first coming to Him - The Christ.  Plain and simple - no alternatives.  Many seek Him - not all find Him.  Distracted by worldly concerns - money - material possessions.  For those who seek earnestly - He is there waiting - silently - for them - you - to accept Him as the Lord of your life.  Today would be a good day to do that - say yes to Jesus - make mom proud.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Back To The Future?

So many people - during the Coronavirus pandemic - praying to go back - to the way it was - unhappy with the world right now.  For myself - praying that we do not go back - restart a world that was broken - not working - unfair practices - too much negativity - too many rich - too many poor - too many hungry - struggling to exist.  With so much money in so few hands - wealth most cannot imagine - standing next to personal warehouses filled with all sorts of toys - collections - millions of dollars of things - benefiting no one.  Empty buildings that could house the homeless - people starving while food products go to waste - sitting on shipping docks - rotting.  Human beings deprived of water - not just clean water - no water at all - villages with no electricity - while millions of homes run enough electricity through their meters that could power a village.  I pray that we don't go back to a normal that was broken - did not work.  There must be a better future - for all - as we rebuild our world.
While they were walking on their way to Emmaus - two disciples talking about the Resurrection Event - encounter Jesus - not recognizing Him at first.  As they walked together - their eyes opened - finally - understood everything Jesus had told them.  Jesus disappeared - they turned - back to where they had been.  Sharing the joy - news - new knowledge gained from that short time with Jesus.  From that meeting - a new normal - not going back - rather forward - knowledge gained - guiding future events - benefiting all.  It is true - once you encounter Jesus - you cannot continue to walk the same path - your journey changed - now heading in a new direction.  With faith we walk with Jesus - God at our side - as we move now to a new - better - normal.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Immersion Therapy

When we think of immersion therapy - a psychological technique which allows a patient to overcome fears - phobias - can also be used for anxiety and panic disorders.  Very often when we realize that we have a fear of something - better to immerse ourselves in study - learning all we can about what we  fear.  Once we know our enemy better - the easier it is to fight that enemy.  It is said that knowledge is power - proven to be true over and over again.  More information places additional tools in our storehouse - to help us battle what we fear. 

When we learn that even with a full tool box - many issues - impossible to battle on our own.  That is when we call on God - His Son - Jesus - to help us.  Our first - most important tool - connecting with God.  Once connected we see the various tools at our disposal - relaxed breathing - calming - prayer - meditation - contemplation - compassion - service.  As we learn about these tools - as we immerse ourselves in the knowledge - given by God - study the teachings of Jesus - we become better prepared to cope with life - all that life throws at us.  Immersed in the knowledge - God always with us - we stand armed to fight any battle we may face.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

My Lord And My God

It wasn't until doubting Thomas saw Jesus after His Resurrection - placed his fingers in His wounds - exclaimed - My Lord and My God.  According to Scripture this happened a week after His resurrection - after the other disciples had already seen the Risen Lord.  If we count time in a similar vein - this Sunday - the Second Sunday of Easter - the same time - 2000 years later - one week after Easter Sunday.  Very often we do not make the same connection to God - the timeline with Jesus - until we stop and consider what the scriptures are telling us.  It is no wonder then that Saint John Paul II - designated this Sunday - Divine Mercy Sunday.

For many this is a history lesson - to be digested - studied - debated over.  For those of Faith - a very significant day - another day when Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples - today to modern day Christians - a reminder of God's Mercy - Love - Hope.  This Sunday - Divine Mercy Sunday - we praise God that He is truly merciful - a day when our hearts - minds - souls - touch the Divine

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Living in Boldness

In today's reading from Acts 4:13-21 we notice that Peter and John were observed by the Jewish leaders as - living in boldness.  At first sight they assumed that Peter and John were uneducated people - surprised when they heard them talking about the resurrection - the story of Jesus - His life - death - rising from the dead - people being healed in His name.  It is not surprising when we observe those who are famous - athletes - political figures - movie stars - boldness their middle name.  Even when they are clueless about certain issues - freely open their mouths - speak with authority of which they have no knowledge.  

In our case - modern day disciples - those who have made a commitment to serve The Lord - a definite need to be well informed - to speak boldly - to freely share the Gospel with all we meet.  On occasion - peer pressure - judgement by some - we might hold back - shrink from our duty - to do as we have been commanded.  Gathering strength - reminded of our personal commitment - called to ignore those who judge us - to go boldly where none have gone before - reassured  that Jesus - always with us - we go forth - living in boldness - just as Peter and John did,

Deacon Dale 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Building Blocks

Psalm 118:22 - The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone - Jesus - the Christ - The Risen One - rejected by the priests - Sadducees -  would not accept the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead.  The disciples - filled with the Holy Spirit - could not keep quiet about the resurrection - as word grew - these few disciples - sharing their message with hundreds - thousands - grew the Church.  As all buildings have a cornerstone - that first brick - rock - creates the starting point that additional bricks follow.  As in all construction - be it a building - any project - there is always a starting point.  The Church was no different - Jesus - that starting point that led the way for the Christian faith.  

For those of us who call ourselves Christians - as our lives were formed - developed - at some point our spiritual formation was begun.  Most as young children formed by the faith - efforts - of our parents.  As we grew - the point in time finally arrived when we continued the process started for us - growing into mature adult Christians.  Each step of the way - building blocks added - to the point where we are today.  The first stone - laid by parents - the next stones - blocks put in place by relatives - family - friends.  Finally - blocks added by the Church - its ministers - a community which helped form us into  the faithful people that we are today.  An old African saying - it takes a village to raise a child - same for our development as a person of faith - it takes a faith community to raise us to maturity in our beliefs.  As we look back on our development - we see that first stone - laid for us - thousands of years ago - by Jesus.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, April 16, 2020


In today's first reading we heard about the crippled man who was healed by God in response to prayers offered by Peter.  In that scripture we can see ourselves - our current situation - as we wait - in prayer - looking for answers - response from God.  We pray for those on the front line - those most at risk - those closest to anyone hospitalized.  As people of faith - we know that the majority will live through this pandemic.  As people recover - as fewer experience symptoms - as the number declines - life will return back to the way it was - hopefully better prepared for the next crisis.  As we move forwards - our prayer is that those in control will make better efforts to be better prepared so that this crisis does not ever repeat itself.  There is no way anyone can reasonably predict the next crisis - what that crisis may be - building up storehouses of critical supplies for different scenarios - definitely possible.

Walking with Jesus at our side as we journey through life - we pray - contemplate our personal future.  As committed Christians it is important that each of us build our own storehouses - filled with our own prayers - acts of kindness - charitable deeds - concern for others.  God has given us the space - tools needed.  Our hearts -minds - contain so much space for us to fill - never reaching capacity - God always giving us exactly what we need - when we need it.  Today - as this world begins to heal itself - we seek wholeness in our own lives - discarding anything in our life that is not of the Lord - creating space for our personal storehouse.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Warriors and Heroes

When we think of warriors and heroes who come into our minds - Saint George - King Richard I - Batman - Robin - Superman - Wonder Woman - Spider Man - Captain America?  A few years ago high school students were asked to list their super heroes - people they most wanted to grow up to be.  A small percent listed Michael Jordan of basketball fame - the majority - their parents - mothers - fathers - ordinary people - doing ordinary things.  They were teachers - lawyers - doctors - pharmacists - accountants - writers - motivational speakers - truck drivers - construction workers - police officers - fire fighters - stay at home moms and dads - employed by giant corporations - self employed - sole proprietors.  Most doing what is perceived as very ordinary jobs - not out of the ordinary.  Today - battling this unseen enemy - the Coronavirus - so small that only Ant Man might be able to see face to face - all are warriors fighting united in this battle that is threatening to claim too many lives.  Those who fight - warriors - those who follow official recommendations - sheltering in place - staying home - today's heroes.  One does not have to be on the front line in this battle - those staying at home - making it easier for our front line warriors to do their jobs - heroes.

Fighting the Coronavirus - a battle that will be short lived - in time - an all clear message will be sent - people allowed to leave home - return to work.  The one constant battle - ongoing since the beginning of time - battle of good against evil.  Those who fight against this enemy - both warrior - hero.  The struggle very real - not recognized by many - ignored by some - always on the minds of the Faithful.  As Christians our battle is not against municipalities - governments - the true battle is against - The King of Liars - the One who deceives - disrupts - causes division - creates - chaos.   Chaos - is not of the Lord -  (1 Corinthians 14:33) - He The Lord of Lords - The Prince of Peace - is the One who journeys with all of us - as we fight all the battles of life.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Moving On

The phrase - rolling stones - gather no moss - very applicable right now - spiritually - morally.  We have just experienced a very unusual Lent - Triduum - Easter - sheltering in place - staying at home - in isolation.  For the lucky ones - with spouse - family - those alone - definitely more isolated.  We have come to realize that in this period of pandemic - we need each other.  When we first discovered God - Jesus - wandered on our own - joined a group - parish - community - we began to grow - with the help from others.  We learned that our faith journey was never in total isolation - God placing the right people along the path - to guide - inspire us.  With the help of others - God revealed His Truth - Love - to us.

Once you meet Jesus - you can not continue to walk the same path - your eyes set on new directions - avenues - to walk as you continue your growth as a disciple. The same with this pandemic - so much revealed - inadequate health facilities - unfair employment practices - unjust benefits provided by employers - government - lack of housing for those unable to provide for themselves.  Jesus told us 2000 years ago - the poor will always be with us - does not explain why - after 2000 years - nations still have not found a way to address - poverty - adequate housing - feeding - clothing those poor.  I recently read that in one part of the world - the people take mud - formed into patties - baked on the ground in the sun - eaten to fill the stomachs of those without food. As Christians - as people of God - now is the time to make changes.  Returning to what was the norm - no longer an option - now the time to make drastic changes - to correct these social ills.  As we work to do this - we will also grow in our relationship with Jesus - doing as He asked - feed His sheep - love His sheep - care for His people.  The time to act is now - not later - rolling stones - we the rocks of faith - gathering no moss - as we move forward - into His future. 

Deacon Dale