Putting God First

Dear Parishioners,

The season of Lent has begun. We use this time to bring ourselves closer to God. During this season we work at turning away from sin and following God’s Will. Then we can continue to live in this way after we celebrate Easter.

Temptation to sin is always going to be present. Part of following God’s Will means resisting temptation. We know this isn’t always easy. This is where we learn about putting God first.

In today’s gospel, Jesus is fasting in the desert and is tempted by the devil. Jesus was tired and hungry but He never gave in. He resisted the devil. He put God first!

As we go through the season of Lent, let’s put God first. When we think about where we battle with sin the most, let’s not give into temptation but turn away from that sin. Then we can follow Jesus’s example in the desert and not let anything get in the way of our relationship with God. We can prepare to celebrate Easter, where Jesus gained for us the gift of eternal life!

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Lent

Dear Parishioners,

This coming Wednesday, February 14, will be Ash Wednesday. The season of Lent will begin, recalling the forty days Jesus spent fasting in the desert.

The ashes we receive on Ash Wednesday acknowledge publicly that we are sinners and we are willing to do penance for our sins. The ashes are made from the burning of the palms from last Palm Sunday. We praised Jesus with palms in the beginning of Holy Week. Now we call to mind that we have sinned since then.

Lent is a time when we turn away from the sinfulness in our life. We are preparing to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Let’s use the season of Lent to recognize what separates us from God, where we fall to sin. Then we can turn away from that sinfulness and grow closer to the Lord. We can prepare to celebrate the gift of eternal life, gained for us by Jesus.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Pause

Dear Parishioners,

There was a man named Barry who woke up one drizzly morning and went for a walk by himself in the woods. He thought of a time when he was young when he saw his grandfather walk alone in those same woods.

When his grandfather returned, Barry asked him where he had been. His grandfather told him if he ever felt lonely, he should go for a walk in the woods. He should be quiet and do whatever he felt moved to do, by kneeling down and laying his hands flat against the earth. Barry did what his grandfather told him. He felt renewed and recharged.

Today’s gospel indicates that Jesus used to go off by Himself to pray. One reason Jesus did this was the same reason why Barry used to do it: to renew and recharge himself.

Jesus’s work made Him very tired, just like our work can do to us. That’s why we need to do what Jesus did and recharge ourselves. Maybe we can’t do this by going off alone into the woods or even by going off alone into a quiet part of our house.

But we can do something. We can at least pause momentarily. During the course of our day, we can take a little break from our busy schedule. We can get in touch with God for a moment. We can get renewed and recharged by listening to God’s Voice in our hearts.

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Thank you very much to all of our Parishioners who donated to the Christmas collection. We have received $35,647.40 to date.

I would also like to thank everyone who contributed to the Flower Memorials. All contributions continue to help us give the best care to St. Joseph Parish.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Signs of the Kingdom

Dear Parishioners,

In 1973, the movie, The Exorcist, premiered. It concerned a young person who was possessed by an evil spirit, not unlike the one in today’s gospel. It was based on a true story of a fourteen-year-old boy who lived in Mount Rainier, Maryland.

Newsweek magazine tells of the terrible experiences the boy faced. He survived and now lives in Washington, D.C. The true story recalls how Jesus expelled evil spirits – a sign that God’s Kingdom was replacing Satan’s Kingdom.

It also reminds us that Jesus left us to finish what He began. By following Jesus’s command to love one another, we continue to build the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Potential

Dear Parishioners,

The writer Ralph Waldo Emerson had a remarkable line in one of his essays. He wrote, “Our chief want in life is somebody who can make us do what we can.” He also added, “This is the service of a friend.”

A good friend will support us in recognizing and achieving our potential. When we listen to today’s gospel, we hear how Emerson’s words apply to Jesus.

In today’s gospel, Jesus called his Apostles to follow Him. They let Jesus into their life and followed Him. If we do what the Apostles did, Jesus will do for us what He did for them. He will make us partners in His work and give our lives a new meaning.

Jesus can put His spirit in us. He can share His power with us and help us to do what we could never do alone. To have Jesus enter into our life, we need only open our mind and heart to Him. He will do the rest.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Prayer

Dear Parishioners,

There was a high school teacher who asked each member of his class to interview three people about prayer. The students were to ask them five questions:

Do you pray?

Do you pray daily or only occasionally?

Why do you pray?

How do you pray?

Who taught you to pray?

Three surprises emerged from the student interviews. First, the students were surprised how willing people were to talk about prayer. Second, the students were surprised how many people pray daily. Third, the students were surprised how many of their close friends prayed. They had never discussed it before.

These student interviews enabled the students to learn more about each other’s faith. They allowed the students to share their faith with one another.

When we turn to the Lord in prayer, we grow in our relationship with Him. When we stay true to following the Lord’s teaching, we become Christ to one another.

Lord, teach each one of us that here on earth you have

no hands but ours to reach out to the needy.

You have no heart but ours to embrace the lonely.

You have no voice but ours to share the message of

why you lived, suffered and died for us.

Lord, teach us that here on earth

we are your hands,

we are your voice,

we are your heart.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Christmas

Dear Parishioners,

On December 25, we celebrated Christmas, the birth of our Savior. Since then, it has been the Christmas season, continuing the celebration of Jesus’s coming into the world.

The Christmas liturgies here at St. Joseph were beautiful. The Midnight Mass was well attended. So many parishioners took part as ministers in the liturgies. The music was lovely and the church couldn't have been decorated any more beautifully.

Today in the Catholic Church is the Epiphany. We celebrate the three Wise Men who were led to the newborn Jesus by following a star. When they arrived, the Wise Men presented Jesus with the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The Christmas season ends tomorrow when Jesus, now an adult, is baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Jesus would then begin his public ministry, teaching about the Kingdom of God.

The Christmas season is a beautiful time in the Church. It is a time when family and loved ones come together. As we continue to give time to God, family and loved ones, we will make Jesus visible not only at Christmas, but every day.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

A Holy (and Human) Family

Dear Parishioners,

I hope everyone enjoyed this past week as we celebrated Christmas. I am sure many of you were together with your families, exchanged presents and enjoyed special time together. I know after the masses Christmas Day I went to see my family. We exchanged presents and I enjoyed the time with them.

Today we celebrate the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph. When we think of them, about what they’ve done and who they are to us, it’s difficult to think of them as any ordinary family. Yet the Holy Family presented to us in today’s Gospel is a truly human family. What they experienced when they lived here on earth is very similar to what so many of us experience in our own lives.

When Mary gave birth to Jesus, a family was formed. Now Joseph already had to make a difficult decision when he learned that Mary was expecting a baby. Then, he and Mary were forced to travel to a strange town where Mary would give birth. Because they couldn’t find a room, Mary was forced to give birth in a stable, which is where she gave birth to Jesus and laid Him in a manger.

Today, in our families, we fulfill God’s plan as we go about our regular way of life. Throughout all the changes that have come about in modern living, the family has remained important. It is through regular family life that we can grow in holiness and in knowledge of God’s Will. It is by facing Life’s happiness and difficulties together as a family that we grow in understanding and in love.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick