Can You Walk on Water?

When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”

He said, “Come.”

Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Can you walk on water? Have you tried? Like Peter, we all have doubts.

  • We are told “be not afraid,” yet we are still filled with fear.
  • We are told “do not let your heart be troubled,” yet our hearts are often filled with worry and anxiety.
  • We are told to “trust in the Lord with all your heart,” yet there are times when we try to figure out everything ourselves without asking God for guidance.

We all begin to sink. And then we cry out: “Lord, save me.”

“O you of little faith.”

Starting today, I’m going to practice walking on water. Every move I make on solid earth, I will imagine that I’m traveling atop a smooth, clear body of water.

I take one step after another.

I move safely from shore-to-shore.

All doubt and fear is removed from me.

I am filled with faith.

All because Jesus simply says, “Come.”

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK.

 

Advertisements

The Love of a Mother Made Perfect

A Message from Deacon Greg Diciaula

Each year on Mother’s Day, as we express the love and gratitude we feel for our mothers, I also reflect on the gift that Jesus gave to us before the total gift of Himself on the Cross; the gift of His mother to be our own.

May is the month dedicated to Mary, the Mother of our Lord. Jesus entrusted Mary to his beloved disciple and to the entire Church with these tender words recorded in John’s Gospel:

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”

Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19:26, 27

Mary was there at the incarnation, birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. She was there on the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. She was there as the first evangelizer and disciple, as she visited with her cousin, Elizabeth.

Her “Fiat” (Let it be done) given in response to the angel Gabriel, provides an example for each one of us. Mary said “Yes” and her humble surrender serves as a model for the vocation of every Christian.

Through her response, Mary shows each one of us the pattern of human love surrendered to God’s love, and finding its fulfillment. She also shows us the love of a mother made perfect.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners…

 

Deacon Greg Diciaula

Love One Another

Love one another…

What does it mean to love? I remember back in high school, we had to read a book entitled “Love” by Leo Buscaglia (1972) as part of our theology instruction sophomore year. It was in the context of this book that I learned many things about this little four letter word, that can have such ambiguity as much as it can have definition.

I went and pulled it off the shelf of my library as I pondered the commandment to “love one another.” While Jesus had provided example after example of what love really looks like in the gospels, the climax being His Passion, rarely are we ever confronted with such a selfless act of love on a daily basis. I thumbed through the pages to see if my sophomore self had left me any nuggets of inspiration, when I stumbled upon an annotation that read:

Love means to commit oneself without guarantee, to give oneself completely in the hope that our love will produce love in the loved person. Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love. The perfect love would be one that gives all and expects nothing. (p.96)

Clearly, Jesus feels that we should be able to do this, otherwise, He wouldn’t have given us this directive. Typically, one does not ask of others what one would not do themselves. God loves us. We are to love one another.

I was recently reminded of the phrase “To love another person is to see the face of God,” notably coined in Les Miserable. Do you take time to reflect upon your relationships with this in mind? As I think about it, parents are the first teachers of love. As a parent, I vividly recall the moment I first laid eyes on my children and the overwhelming love that existed in that moment. I can truly say I saw the face of God. I still do. The love of a parent for a child is the closest thing in our human existence that compares to the love that God has for us. A parent would lay their life down for their child. That is what God did for us through Jesus – the ultimate sacrifice. In turn, we must love one another like that.

To all of the moms out there who make sacrifices, take “abuse,” give love, share smiles and tears to show your children the love of the Lord through your face, thank you.

 

Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School

 

Together. With Love.

This week I met Michelle and Steve.

Michelle is an energetic and passionate woman who worked in the nursing field in Madison, Wisconsin for many years. She had a job and a home that she loved.

Then, one day, God called her.

Michelle’s mother was battling cancer an hour away in Milwaukee. And it was not going well. The treatments were taking a toll on her body, and she was struggling with day-to-day activities.

Michelle listened to what God was asking of her. It was time to leave the home and job that she loved, and it was time to move to Milwaukee to care for Mom.

God called, and Michelle listened.

“It’s never easy to watch anyone suffer, but it’s even more difficult when it’s your mother,” Michelle said. “But I am glad that I was there. It was a very spiritual experience. Both sad and uplifting as I watched her pass on.”

When Michelle lost Mom, she found Steve. Steve, equally as energetic and passionate, worked in the nursing field in Milwaukee. He met Michelle during her frequent hospital visits with Mom. Michelle and Steve knew they were meant for each other.

If it wasn’t for God’s call, she never would have met and fallen in love with Steve.

But then God called again.

Steve was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. It is the second most commonly diagnosed blood cancer after non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The cancer grows out of control quickly, crowding out the normal cells.

Steve has no family in the Milwaukee area.

“I don’t know where I would be right now without Michelle. She is literally keeping me alive with her support and assistance. She helps me manage my medication, takes me for treatment; she takes care of my every need.”

While they are optimistic, the future does not look good for Steve’s battle. They know their days together are numbered.

God continues to call them, inviting them to savor every moment of every day. And that’s what they’re doing. Together. With love.

Is God calling you today? Are you listening?

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK

 

Celebrating New Life

A Message from Debbie Olla

In the Church, we celebrate “new life” through the Risen Christ, in our liturgical environment, in the celebration of new catechumens, and the sacraments of First Communion and confirmation.

This spring, my head is full of thoughts about confirmation and how it brings new life into the candidates we have been journeying with over the past year.

“Be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” This is what the bishop says as he anoints with the Holy Chrism. I don’t know about you, but for me this is exciting.

The Holy Spirit strengthens us for ongoing service as the Body of Christ, the Church in the world. The Catechism states it this way for the sacrament of confirmation: “It gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross. God the Father has marked you with His sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.” (CCC 1303).

Working with the candidates each year, I am so thankful for the reminder it brings to me as a confirmed Catholic of the importance of the Holy Spirit in my own life. It makes me take time to reflect on how I call on the Holy Spirit to help me defend my faith in all circumstances. How I live for Christ.

I heard this saying awhile back, “If you were put on trial for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?” It sure made me stop and think, is there? I like to switch out the word Christian for catholic, witness, disciple. Confirmation is not only an anointing, but also a commissioning to live out our faith in the world. I need to constantly call on the Holy Spirit to help stir within me the gifts received at my own confirmation, to continue to allow the Holy Spirit to move in and around me.

As our young people present themselves to be fully initiated into the church, to be “sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit,” to receive “New Life” in their faith journey, please pray for all those who present themselves for the sacrament of confirmation during Eastertime and take a moment to renew the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your own life.

 

Debbie Olla is Director of Youth Formation for St Dominic Catholic Parish.

The Directions are Simple

Listen. Pay attention. Follow directions.

These are words and phrases regularly heard throughout the day in any school environment or any home.

In the Acts of the Apostles, it seems that these phrases are being directed at all of the faithful and not just to the apostles and early disciples of the time. The directives are still very real and very profound, especially as we consider that we do not know the time when Jesus will come again, as He has promised. We must listen, pay attention, and follow directions.

As a teacher, Jesus provided us with much to remember and as a teacher, He modeled the expectations. While He didn’t really give us a rubric to follow, we do have the Ten Commandments as a set of standards. Regardless, He gave us two very specific directions to follow in order to pass the test when the time came:

1. Love the Lord with all your mind, heart, and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. (I love the genius use of the compound sentence.)

2. Do this in remembrance of me – participate in the Eucharist.

How well are you listening, paying attention, and following these directions? This should be a piece of cake, right? If these two things were what comprised the final exam, have you prepared appropriately?

Listen. Pay attention. The directions are simple.

Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. – Mark 16:15-16.

 

Jill Fischer is Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School.

 

The Good Shepherd

A Message from Paul Burzynski

In our modern age, we really “don’t get” the whole idea of shepherding, and I think I would be safe to say that not many of us know a shepherd.

But in the time of Jesus, the idea of shepherding was very understandable.

We hear much about shepherd in Sacred Scripture: The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Matthew 18: 12—14), Jesus telling Peter to “tend my sheep,” (John 21:17) and chapter 10 of John’s gospel when Jesus proclaims that he is the Good Shepherd.

Today, Jesus continues to be the Good Shepherd through the work of his shepherds, or pastors (which comes from Latin, meaning shepherd). Today might be a good time for us to hold the pastors of our Church close in prayer.

Let our prayers be for our Holy Father, Francis, our bishops, clergy, including our St. Dominic shepherds, Father Saran, Father Gibson, Deacon LaFond, Deacon Diciaula and our soon to be associate pastor, Deacon Laskiewicz, who embody the image of the Good Shepherd.

May they continue to be loving, strong and self-sacrificing in their vocation, and be a patient guide to the sheep who rely on their safe care.

 

Paul Burzynski is the Director of Music & Liturgy for St. Dominic Catholic Parish

God is Speaking to Me

Do you remember your First Communion? I do. I wore my mother’s first communion dress and my aunt’s veil. I wore a necklace that I received on my baptism and brand new white shoes. I vividly recall my excitement and how special the day felt.

While I don’t remember much of the Mass, I remember when I took Jesus into my hands for the first time. I was totally excited. I remember moving very quickly to return to my seat upon receiving the precious Body and Blood so that I could say my rehearsed prayers. I also remember thinking, “That was it?” anticipating something more. I don’t know what I thought would happen. “They” said I would be changed. Did I change? Did something happen that I couldn’t see, but others could?

Do you get that feeling too, like there should be something more? In our heads, we know what is going on, but has the rote nature upon which we receive communion made it something less spectacular than what it is?

As I helped at the First Communion retreat this past weekend, I couldn’t help but be reminded about the magic that it holds. I want to reclaim that—the wondering if I’ve been changed because I have received Christ. I am truly one with Him. I should be changed each time. Am I? Are you? Are we?

As I head to Mass with the First Communicants this weekend, I will be paying very close attention to that, and engaging in Mass with a renewed focus of my place in the Body of Christ.

I will be asking myself, “How is what this Mass holds for me today changing me and inviting me closer to Jesus?” God is speaking to me just as He is speaking to you and he speaks to us all the time through one another.

I pray I don’t miss the message.

 

Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School.

 

Courage

My friend Sara recently left her job in Wisconsin and accepted a new position as the Director of Public Relations for an Ohio school district. When Sara told me about the job, she was bubbling with enthusiasm.

“I get to celebrate the students and showcase all of their hard work and talents. I get to recognize all of the great things this group accomplishes every single day.”

She rattled off her communication plans, including enhancing their social media presence and updating the school websites.

Sara couldn’t wait to get started.

Then on February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and everything changed. While Stoneman Douglas High School is in Parkland, Florida, the effects were felt all the way to Ohio.

“We instantly had copy-cat threats at our high school,” Sara told me. “It was horrible. We expelled two students in a one week period. One said he was going to ‘burn the school down.’ The other said he was going to ‘shoot the school up.’”

They had other threats on a regular basis. While none of them were acted out—most claimed that they were just joking—the school executives took every threat seriously.

Sara’s job instantly changed. Her celebration of students was put on hold. She worked closely with the school’s superintendent and together they tried to stay one step ahead. But it wasn’t easy. The emotion of if all took its toll on Sara. Every day she would leave for home exhausted from stress.

So what did this school district do next?

They made a few phone calls. They held a lot of meetings. And they formed an alliance.

They reached out to a number of local churches for help. These churches would act as counselors. They would offer advice on how to communicate with the student population. They would suggest ideas on how to calm the fears.

In other words, this Ohio school district turned to God.

It’s not often that a public school system has the courage to embrace faith as a solution.

Sara still has a lot of work to do. She knows that the road ahead will be challenging. But she now knows she’s not traveling down this road alone.

The next time you’re experiencing a difficult situation, think of Sara and the Ohio school district. Remind yourself of who you are and what you believe.

Have the courage to simply say, “with God, all things are possible.”

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK.

 

We Have a Mission

A Message from Kurt Peot

The greatest news ever received: the Messiah, as predicted by scripture and the prophets, has come in Jesus Christ, fulfilling all that was written about Him, and He has risen from the dead! He has set us free from our sin and returned us to being a part of the Trinity through Him!

After his resurrection, Christ was intent on proving to His disciples that His glorified body, while different in appearance and no longer constrained by space and time, is still physical, having flesh and bones. He encouraged them to touch Him, see Him and eat with Him. Certainly, no ghost can eat. A ghost would have been easier for the disciples to wrap their minds around than a physically resurrected Christ.

How is it for you?

Jesus suffered and died so that He could rescue us from our sin. It’s easy for me to think of Him as divine, and so of course, He could do and endure all that He did. But, as a man, it seems harder, darn near impossible. Yet, He did, because He loves us and loves the Father.

What does He ask of us in return?

We started on Ash Wednesday, “repent and believe in the Gospel.” Now, He asks us to go and preach the Good News, in His name, to all nations. The Good News that He suffered, died and rose from the dead so that we could spend eternity with Him and the Father.

We have a mission! We have been called! We have been sent! Where will we go today and to whom will we proclaim the Good News?

Jesus Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

 

Kurt Peot is a member of St. Dominic Catholic Parish. He recently was accepted into the introductory phase of diaconate formation and discernment.