11-5-2017- Message From Father Jim

November – A month to remember our deceased loved ones

1) At this time of the year as we watch the leaves fall from the trees and the branches become more barren each day we are reminded that winter is not too far off. Many of the plants that were so beautiful during the summer months have now gone in for their winter’s nap. It is appropriate that we reflect on death and new life during the month of November because there are signs of it all around us.

What will happen when we die? Is death simply the end, like blowing out a candle? If there is life after death, what is it like? Questions such as these are on the minds of many people these days. This is nothing new. Jesus was asked many times during the course of His earthly life about the mystery of death and resurrection. In response He often used examples and stories to help His listeners understand. He used the example of a seed to explain that death is like a seed losing its outward shell in order to let what is inside grow. In the same way, we too must break out of our shells, (our bodies) in order to let what is inside (our souls) grow. In all of Jesus’ teaching this much is certain about life after death: it is not a prolonging or continuing of our present existence, but something totally new, and it is based not on wishful thinking but on the very nature of God Himself. Everything beyond this remains a mystery. The resurrection life lies so far outside our experience that it can be described only in symbols and images. Our task is to prepare for that great encounter and homecoming between God and us, not by worrying about the details but by living to the fullest extent each day.

May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

2) Today we are kicking off our annual Stewardship renewal. I’m asking you to please consider how you might help our parishes/schools as a volunteer. It takes the commitment of many people to be able to offer the programs and outreach, and most importantly our beautiful worship opportunities. Please take the time to reflect on what you can offer to your parish and/or school and return the Time and Talent survey form to your parish office or in the weekend collection basket. We all have been blessed so greatly by Almighty God – “what return can we make for all the goodness He has shown to us?” The next three weekends we will be acknowledging and offer a blessing for all who volunteer in the different areas of parish and school life. Please pray for the success of our efforts.

God bless you always!
Father Jim Volkert

11-01-2015- Message from Father Jim

A Message from Father Jim . . .

November – A month to remember our deceased loved ones

Today we are once again given the task of adjusting to the time change that took place today.  By 4:30/5:00 P.M. it starts getting dark.  The sun begins to set, filling the sky with its golden light.  As it really starts to get dark we notice on the opposite side of the sky the moon.  The moon at first is very weak and pale and you have to look very carefully to see it.  It doesn’t appear to be contributing anything whatsoever to the earth.  As the sun goes down deeper into the earth it appears as if it is taking the whole world with it.  As it goes, however, a curious and beautiful thing happens.  The lower the sun dips in the sky, the brighter the moon becomes.  So that by the time the sun has finally departed, the moon has undergone a complete transformation.  It is now the brightest object in the sky.  And as you look around you’ll notice that the world has now been relit with a new light.  The beautiful full moon lights up the countryside once again.

When we lose someone who has meant a lot to us it is as if the sun has gone down on our life.  Everything seems to vanish with the departing one.  We are surrounded with a terrible feeling of emptiness.  We miss our loved one so much as we miss the light they brought to our world.  The void seems to get even greater as time gradually brings home to us just how much we have lost.

But our faith assures us that all is not lost.  We are not in total darkness.  A new light shines on us, or rather the old light under a new form.  Just as the sun, though it has departed the earthly scene, is still able to reflect its light on the earth, so our loved ones, though out of sight, have not vanished into nothingness.  They still live.  Now enjoying the light of eternity, they are able to reflect some of this light on us.  They are still shining on us, still influencing us.

Death is not absence; it is a new kind of presence.  Every one who dies leaves those of us who remain a parting gift – the gift of their spirit.  This spirit comforts us and maintains the link between them and us.  But their spirit also does something else.  Their spirit summons us to life.  Their spirit that remains challenges us to continue to live and grow and to shine in our own right.  And by accepting this challenge to continue our lives, we discover resources in ourselves we may have never suspected existed, and we carry on.  Though we lose something in our lives, we gain something too; though we are improvised, we are enriched too.  Although the world may seem dark for a while, soon we will begin to discover that the world is restored to us, bathed in a new and gentler light.

The one light that gives us hope in our sorrow is Jesus Christ.  The one light that will lead us to the Father is Jesus Christ.  We give thanks for all of our faithful departed, for all of those who have gone before and now share in the fullness of God’s light and peace.  We also pray for ourselves today.  May we continue to cling to the Light of Christ to guide us on our way to the Kingdom.

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace.

Father Jim Volkert