The Mercy That Brings Us Peace (#620, Divine Mercy)

Fr. Joel Homilies 2 Comments

Divine Mercy Sunday (2nd Sunday of Easter) · Finally we get to see the risen Jesus. He offers us the gift of peace, a peace that comes from reconciliation with the Father. Jesus gives Thomas a second chance. If you are struggling with belief, that’s OK. Just don’t give up asking and looking. Thomas goes as far as India helping those who have not seen to believe. He received mercy; he shares mercy. Pope John Paul II brought mercy to the world. He offered mercy to his assassin. Let the risen Jesus meet you and offer you mercy and peace.Read More

Public Domain,

A Safe Landing in the Heart of Jesus (#619, Divine Mercy)

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Second Sunday of Easter (or Divine Mercy Sunday)  featuring Deacon Michael: Thomas struggles with turbulence but finds a safe landing in the side of Christ. This wound goes all the way to Jesus’ heart. Jesus says, “Whatever your turbulence is, I can handle it. Come to my heart.” Bring your wounds and fears and place them in his heart. Come in for a safe landing.Read More

Celebrate Easter All Year Long

Fr. Joel Being Catholic Leave a Comment

One of the reasons I love being Catholic is that our church knows how to party. Most people think Easter is over now. For Catholics we’re just getting started. We start with the “Octave” meaning that Easter itself is 8 days long. Every day until the Sunday afterwards is considered a feast day. That includes no fasting from meat on Friday. I tell the school kids they have to eat Easter candy every day of the Octave. The more they invested in the fasting of Lent, the more they enjoy the feasting of Easter. And then we get the Easter Season all the way until Pentecost. You fast for 40 days; you feast for 50. Not a bad trade-off.

The Church is trying to teach us about the Paschal Mystery. It takes its name from the Jewish Passover (“the Pasch”). Jesus sacrificed himself at the Last Supper and on the Cross, then rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. Death, when it is offered as a sacrifice, leads to Resurrection. The death-and-resurrection-of-Jesus is known as the Paschal Mystery. It is the central mystery of our Catholic faith.Read More

A Rabbit and the Resurrection (#618, Easter Sunday)

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Easter Sunday. God sent us a Savior to rescue us from sin and death. Instead of welcoming Him we killed Him. But then God raised him from the dead. Never underestimate the power of God!

The Resurrection changed everything, but only for those who chose to follow Jesus. They could let go of their past and their future, and live the present moment with and for Jesus. Begin to live the Resurrection by celebrating Easter every Sunday, and Good Friday every Friday. Die to yourself every night, and rise to the new you every morning.

Want to know why rabbits leave colored eggs full of candy? The egg with candy is like a tomb full of joy. Don’t stop looking for Jesus because he isn’t dead: He is Risen! And we can find him everywhere.Read More

Easter 2016 “The Kingdom Has Come”

Fr. Joel God & Faith 1 Comment

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free” Jesus (Luke 4:18)
For generations Israel waited and hoped for a new King. He would be a son of David anointed by God (‘the Christ’) to establish a new Kingdom on earth (Isaiah 11:1-10). For three years Jesus had been preaching and teaching. Angels had sung at his birth and wise men traveled far to honor him. He healed the sick and even raised the dead. Was he the promised Messiah? Their hope died on Calvary. He was buried in haste and the tomb was locked and guarded. But it was not over. Women came to embalm him on Easter Sunday morning and found an empty tomb. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead!Read More

Lay Down Your Life for the King (#617, Palm Sunday)

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Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (Year C)

After the Palm Sunday Gospel — God chooses Jesus to be king. We get to vote whether we will be in or out of his Kingdom. We make our choice today and every day. If we want to choose him as our king then we must serve him. That means laying down, not cloaks or branches, but our lives before Jesus. If we serve with Him, we will reign with Him.

After the Passion Reading — Don’t let Holy Week pass by quickly. What do you have to cancel, turn off, or step away from? What can you do to participate with Jesus in His passion? The legend of the thorn bird reminds us that Jesus is singing his greatest song on the cross. Will you take time to stop and listen? Make this week a Holy Week.Read More

Church is a Family

What You’re Missing When You’re Missing Mass

Fr. Joel Being Catholic 2 Comments

Catholics have an obligation to attend Mass every single Sunday, barring cases of illness and emergency. I know many people that feel bad if they miss Mass simply because they love coming to Mass. That’s the right attitude to Mass. But not every Catholic is there, and I get that.

Then there are those who tell me, “I believe in God but I don’t think I have to go to church every Sunday in order to be a good person.” First of all, they are confusing Catholicism with moralistic, therapeutic deism. Secondly, they are missing out on the biggest opportunity of all time. Behind the Catholic obligation are three core beliefs. For a Catholic who regularly chooses not to come to Mass, these are the things you don’t believe in:Read More


Who is the Woman Caught in Adultery? Her Identity Will Surprise You (#616, Lent 5)

Fr. Joel Homilies 3 Comments

Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year C) · What if we knew the woman caught in adultery? What if I was the wo/man – how would I feel? Then picture yourself face to face with Jesus, the “Face of Mercy.” Nothing matters less than the score at halftime. Like this woman and St. Paul, I hope you come to see the face of Jesus during the Year of Mercy.

What was Jesus writing on the ground with his finger?Read More

Green Tea

A Refreshing Way to Start the Day

Fr. Joel Life on Planet Earth 3 Comments

I’ve been a coffee drinker since my student days in Italy. The yummy cappuccini and perky espressi opened my eyes to the joys of coffee. For years daily coffee was a staple in my life. Then one day I decided to try the “Blood Type Diet.” I was feeling sluggish and often had headaches. I would get so sleepy in the afternoons I had to stop for a siesta. People with my blood type weren’t supposed to drink coffee. I thought this would kill me.

The alternative was green tea. Green tea by itself is quite bland. But I discovered that a spoonful of honey and half a fresh-squeezed lemon transforms it into a sweet-and-sour wakeup call. The resulting drink is refreshingly warm on a cold Wisconsin morning. Read More

UN/BELOVABLE album from Brother Priests, (c) 2016

Hollywood and ISIS Are Missing The Same Thing (#615, Lent 4)

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Lent, 4th Sunday (Year C) · ISIS doesn’t believe in a merciful God. The Calvinists didn’t either. They were responding to the immorality of their day but in a way that becomes severe and oppressive. God’s response is found in today’s Gospel. The younger son doesn’t think he deserves mercy. The older son doesn’t realize he needs mercy. Both are missing their Father’s love. The Father will run to meet you in the Confessional. Where will Hollywood and ISIS see God’s merciful love, if they do not see it in us? And how can we be merciful like the Father if we have not allowed the Father to be merciful to us?Read More