Branches on the True Vine

“I am the vine, alleluia; you are the branches, alleluia”, is the antiphonal refrain before the canticle of Zechariah in this morning’s Divine Office. Throughout the Office and today’s Readings we find God’s people and all of creation rejoicing that Jesus Christ is Risen. The Psalm today calls to us, “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.”

In the Gospel Jesus proclaims, “Remain in me, as I remain in you, whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.” Jesus continues speaking to his disciples saying, “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”

Rejoicing, dancing, joy and fruits are part of my offertory to God. I say only part because I frequently forget that there is work to be done; the pruning and cleaning of my own branch on the true vine. It is an essential part in the natural progression of any life cycle. There are times of growth, dormancy or rest and purging inherent to growth in life to produce good fruit. 

I get stuck on pruning and purging, getting rid of the things and thoughts that can damage and inhibit new growth. I have clothes, shoes, containers, and things I’ve saved because I will ‘reuse’ them. There are items that have sentimental value but have no function or purpose in my life that need to be let go. There are parts of my life that require pruning to facilitate new growth, not just collecting cobwebs and dust, slowly suffocating and dying.

Many of my things can be of service or value to someone who’s beginning a new chapter in life; those will be donated. Some things need to be recycled and others thrown out. I also must nurture my way of life with the sacraments and teachings of the Catholic Church and the study of all the Bible, especially the Gospel. It’s as necessary to do as putting food into my body, breathing air, getting rest, interacting with others, praying, mourning and rejoicing. It is all part of the cycle of life for a healthy branch of the True Vine.

Rejoice, read scripture, attend Mass, interact with the community, live the Gospel, prune, rest, repeat! 

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Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She is a Secular Franciscan (OFS) and a practicing spiritual director. Beth shares smiles, prayers, laughter, a listening ear and her heart with all of creation. Reach her here

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The Peace Jesus Offers

“Peace I give you.” These words are some of the most important words found in the Gospel readings from today. Jesus is offering us peace for our troubled souls. He reminds us that we are not to be afraid or troubled, for we are given the Holy Spirit to help us every day. Jesus’ peace is an internal experience. We can come to identify this peace and learn to trust that God is with us even when life is hard. 

Heavenly peace is accessed through prayer, obedience to God, and learning to trust Jesus.  We must be aware that the ruler of this world- Satan, wants to destroy our peace. The devil rules by fear and intimidation and wants us to believe that all there is to life is what we can see with our eyes. The devil lies, tricks, and is called the “prince of this world” and can offer us short-term pleasure but for an eternity of pain and suffering. Please do not run from your hardships but rather give them to Jesus and be sanctified and even transformed by your suffering. Jesus wants to help you through these difficult seasons of growth and give you the peace you need to endure. When we live in the peace of Christ, we also serve as an example to others.

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Emily Jaminet is a Catholic author, speaker, radio personality, wife, and mother of seven children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mental health and human services from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.  She is the co-founder of and the Executive Director of The Sacred Heart Enthronement Network She has co-authored several Catholic books and her next one, Secrets of the Sacred Heart: Claiming Jesus’ Twelve Promises in Your Life, comes out in Oct. 2020. Emily serves on the board of the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference, contributes to Relevant Radio and Catholic

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The Works of the Father

Today we celebrate the Feast of Sts. Philip and James, two of the apostles. Today’s Gospel is one of those readings that makes me feel better as a human person because it shows the true humanity of the apostles. Here they are walking, living, and learning, from Jesus and still they don’t understand a word he is saying. 

Philip tells Jesus that if they just see the Father that would be enough for them and Jesus promptly responds with, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” Now, let’s give some credit to Philip, what Jesus says here is really confusing to a normal person. If someone were to walk up to you on the street and say my father and I are distinct persons but one God, you would probably be confused as well. So we can give Philip a break for being confused because these truths can only really be understood through revelation. But what I want to focus on is the faith of Philip. 

Jesus is speaking about his father in heaven, and Philip immediately just wants to see. He wants to know God the Father. He wants to know him personally. I think sometimes we make the mistake of believing we have to know everything there is to know about the Catholic Church or about God before we can truly enter into a relationship, but today’s Gospel would say otherwise. Philip didn’t know much at this point about God the Father or even about Jesus. But he wanted to know. That faith was enough. 

As we move on in the Gospel we see the result of this faith. When we have faith in Jesus and rely on God the Father we can do the works of Jesus. Philip didn’t understand this yet, but that’s exactly what happened. The apostles relied on God the father, listened to Jesus, and allowed the Holy Spirit into their lives, and then their works were effective, they were miraculous, they were the works of the Father. 

We have the same call today. Do we have that kind of faith? Do we trust that God will allow us to do these works as well and bring many back to the Lord? This isn’t a work that we do, but it comes from God the Father through Jesus Christ. Let’s pray for the grace to live this faith boldly and proclaim it loudly as Philip eventually did. From all of us here at Rodzinka Ministry, God bless!

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Tommy Shultz is the Founder/Director of Rodzinka Ministry and the Director of Faith Formation for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative. In these roles, he is committed to bringing all those he meets into a deeper relationship with Christ. Tommy has a heart and flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. With a degree in Theology from Franciscan University, Tommy hopes to use his knowledge to help all people understand the beauty of The Faith. Contact Tommy at or check out his website at

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Remaining in Him Who Strengthens Us

A clear theme seems to run through all of today’s readings: remaining with God – seeking Him, honoring Him, and striving to do His will – and, through Him, you will be able to do unimaginable things.

A person can go from being an enemy of the Church to being one of its most prolific evangelists, as Saul (turned Paul) did.

We can receive from God whatever we ask that is in accordance with His will.

We can grow from the struggles in life that prune us, and bear an abundance of spiritual fruit, which we never could have done on our own.

We will be able to say, as Paul did in Philippians 4: “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.” In turn, people will say of us, as the onlookers said of the apostles at Pentecost, “How is it possible they are doing this?”

And the Father will be glorified.

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J.M. Pallas has had a lifelong love of Scriptures. When she is not busy with her vocation as a wife and mother to her “1 Samuel 1” son, or her vocation as a public health educator, you may find her at her parish women’s bible study, affectionately known as “The Bible Chicks.”

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Hardworking St. Joseph

This day has always been one of the most special dates on my calendar. As a young adult, I made an effort to foster a close relationship with Mary and Joseph, and today we get to celebrate them both (since it’s the first day of the month of May)! When I finally found my husband, we decided to name our first son after this incredible saint. We couldn’t believe that one of my numerous siblings hadn’t named one of my even more numerous nephews after him. What a blessing!

Today we focus on a specific aspect of Joseph’s holiness, his spirit of hard work. We know that he was a carpenter and worked with his hands to provide for Jesus and Mary. I find this virtue to be particularly difficult to instill in our Joseph. As parents, we want to give our children everything, to provide for their every need and at times it’s hard not to spoil them. The chore charts hang on the refrigerator unenforced, the dishes schedule remains an idea in my head, and it’s like pulling teeth trying to get him and his brothers to pick up toys so we can vacuum.

Sure, we’ve had plenty of teaching moments where we talk until we’re red in the face about the importance of helping out as a family and how when he grows up he won’t have money to buy food unless he works… but what will help him and his brothers to truly understand?

I admit mommy and daddy need to be a tad more consistent, but deeper than that, we can point him to the example of good St. Joseph. The optional reading for this feast day states “Over all these things put on love…And let the peace of Christ control your hearts…And be thankful. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus…for the Lord and not for men…”

I can see St. Joseph living out these words each and every day, working tirelessly out of love. He worked calmly, peacefully, skillfully using his tools to shape the wood, most likely praying as he went along. And most certainly he was thankful. Thankful for God’s guidance and provision, for allowing the work of his hands to provide for the needs of his most holy family. And we already know he did not live before men, because if he did, he would have never married Mary in the first place. His vocation was to serve the Lord.

Dear St. Joseph, thank you for your example of hard work and fidelity to God’s will. Help us to imitate your loving, peaceful, grateful and pure way of living and to teach our children to do the same. May we pray with hearts full of trust “Lord, give success to the work of our hands” (Psalm Response) that we may glorify you. Amen. 

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on and, runs her own blog at and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

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Beginnings Without Endings

We all love good stories with satisfying endings. But it seems Jesus is the Master at building tension and leaving us to find the conclusion through prayer and reflection – sometimes decades of theological reflection!  Jesus is the fullness of revelation, but sometimes it seems that he holds back more than he reveals. He gives solid clues, but does not lay things out plainly, and the apostles are often left confused and probably discussing between themselves what he meant. So are we.

Today’s Easter reading actually comes from the Last Supper, after Jesus has washed his disciples’ feet and they are beginning to wonder what is going on. He speaks of betrayal, Judas has left early without any explanation, and Jesus begins to talk about going somewhere they cannot come right away. Something is stirring, and there is tension. Jesus knows this, and he cannot soften the blow of what is about to happen.

So Jesus tells them not to be troubled, to lean into their faith. He reminds them of their eternal future in the Father’s house. And then he tells the disciples that they actually already know the way to where he is going. Thomas objects that they don’t even understand what he’s talking about, they don’t even know where he is going. You can sense a kind of confused exasperation in Thomas as he insists they have no idea of the way.

Jesus’ answer (enlightened by retrospect and the Holy Spirit in the Church!) could be paraphrased something like this:

“You DO know the way, because you know ME. I AM THE WAY, and there is no other way.

You also know all you need to know because you know ME. I AM ALL TRUTH.

You can also walk in hope, because you know ME. I AM LIFE – abundant life, eternal life! 

So, FOLLOW ME by imitating what I have done and what I am about to do.

Walk confidently in the truth that I AM and that knowing me reveals the meaning of all creation and the deep desires of every human heart, including your own.

Hope in me, confident that the fullness of life will be yours, now and forever.

Human hope finds satisfaction in happy endings, but the Father loves beginnings without endings!

We are all journeying to an eternity in the Heart of the Father, and I am going before you.

The only way for you to get to My Father is through ME.


 Do our lives reflect this? Do our lives demonstrate that Jesus is our all, that we need him, that he gives us all, that our confidence is in HIM?

 Is Jesus our way, our truth, and our very life?  

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Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including newly ordained Father Rob and seminarian Luke ;-), and two grandchildren. She is a Secular Discalced Carmelite and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 25 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio, by publishing and speaking, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Catechesis, various parishes, and other ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is

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We Were Made to Serve

In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ talk of slaves and masters can seem a bit controversial- especially since He seems to suggest that slaves are lesser than their masters, rather than equal. In today’s world, we want to hear Jesus tell us that slaves are equal in dignity to their masters, or even better, that slavery is a reprehensible evil that must be abolished immediately. That would be the social justice Jesus that we all know and love. 

But Jesus is not talking about human slaves and human masters. He is talking about us and God. We are the slaves, and God is our Master. We are lesser than God. We will never be greater than our Master. We are called slaves because we are meant to serve. That is what we were made for- we were made to serve.

“Serve” is a beautiful word in the Hebrew language. It can also mean “work” and “worship.” Our work is our worship. Our service is our worship. We were made to worship God. We were made to love Him. We are slaves of love. Our entire being longs to worship God, to love Him with our bodies and souls. We are made to serve our Master, a Master who loves us enough to allow His only begotten Son to die for us. 

Jesus, the Son of God, came “not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). God became man, became a slave to show man what it means to serve. Jesus shows us all what it means to be a slave, what it means to serve. Jesus Christ, despite being God, got down on his hands and knees and washed the feet of his apostles. That’s what it means to serve. It means giving our lives for Love, whether that means living our life for Him or dying for Him. Our life and our death have the ability to be acts of worship. 

But there is more. Jesus calls us friends, not slaves. The Master became a slave so that the slaves might become like the Master. God became man so that man might become like God. Jesus Christ became human so that we might be friends. And not even just friends, but brothers, and therefore heirs of heaven like Christ Himself. That is Love in its truest, deepest, form. God came down to earth to show us what it would take to get to heaven. And now we just need to follow Him. Serve like Him. Worship like Him. Love like Him. So maybe being slaves for Christ isn’t so bad after all. 

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Shannon Whitmore currently lives in northwestern Virginia with her husband, Andrew, and their two children, John and Felicity. When she is not caring for her children, Shannon enjoys writing for her blog, Love in the Little Things, reading fiction, and freelance writing. She has experience serving in the areas of youth ministry, religious education, sacramental preparation, and marriage enrichment.

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A Light in the Darkness

I stood outside, shivering a little against the chilly night air. Many people stood around me in the dark, all silent. Through a break in the crowd, I could see the fire-lit faces of the priests and altar servers, gathered around the Easter Fire. May the light of Christ rising in glory dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds. With that, the deacon raised the Easter Candle above the heads of the company. I stood there, transfixed, watching that candle; light against dark, flame against sky. One by one the congregation began to light their candles, and, once we got inside, that one flame had lit a hundred others, bathing the entire church in bright, warm light. 

One flickering flame is all that it takes. One flame, one light is all that is needed to breach the darkness.

As I read the readings for today while preparing for this blog, one line in particular stuck out to me: I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. When sitting down to think about what I should write about, one memory kept coming back; the memory of three weeks ago at the Easter Vigil Mass, the memory of that one candle — the Easter Candle — lifted high above the heads of the jostling crowd to stand alone, winking against the night sky.

Jesus is that flame. That light. That love. 

This reading makes me think of the analogy of a room: You’re standing in the doorway, looking into it. In the dark, you can see nothing, other than what appears to be an empty room. Now, imagine someone else flips on a light switch. At first, the light hurts, and you squint. But now that the room is lit, you see that the floor is covered in nails and broken bits of glass. 

Now, would you rather go into the room in the dark or in the light?

In the light, you see things. In the dark, you don’t. But the dark is soothing; our eyes adjust to it quickly. We, unfortunately, do too.

My point here is, let the light in. Let Jesus in. Just a tiny flame. It might hurt a little to see your broken self, it might hurt a lot, but Jesus will show you the nails and the glass so that you can avoid them. He did not come to shed light on your brokenness and failures so that he can call you out on them, denounce you, and punish you, but so that he can lead you through all the dark rooms you encounter. “And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world.” He will personally conduct you, carry you on his shoulders, even, through the dark world. He is the light. He is the love.

So go, let in the light, and see how far one flame can spread. 

Perpetua Phelps is a high school student residing in West Michigan and is the second of four children. Apart from homeschooling, Perpetua enjoys volunteering at her church, attending retreats, studying Latin and French, and reading classics such as BeowulfThe Lord of the Rings, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, and Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc. She also spends much time writing novels, essays, and poetry for fun and competition. A passionate Tolkien fan, Perpetua is a founding member of a Tolkien podcast.

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Faith Is the Answer

In today’s Gospel we hear from the Jews the question, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense?”

Even though Jesus does not answer that question directly in the Gospel, we know that the answer is “never”. God has revealed Himself to us through His Son, Jesus Christ and, like He says in the Gospel, it is through His works that we know He is the Savior. Within the context of the Easter season, we know that Christ’s greatest witness to Himself is His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. He tells the Jews, “The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me”. Since we know that He was sent by the Father for the forgiveness of sins we also know that we, His sheep, are given eternal life through that work of sacrifice, forgiveness, and grace. 

I think that all of that is easy to say: “We know Christ is our Savior because He showed us in the Resurrection”; “We are His sheep, we ought to follow His commands”; “The works Christ did during His ministry on earth also bear witness to the Truth that He is the Savior of the world, the Son of the Living God”. What gets difficult is living it without questioning the Truth. I think the biggest question I ask (and I doubt I’m the only one) is how. How did the Father send His only Son? How did Christ’s death on the Cross purchase for us the rewards of eternal life? How do you live a life following the voice of the Lord? How do you even know for certain that it’s the voice of the Lord you are following. There’s only one answer to all these questions: faith. 

Unlike the Jews we hear of in the Gospel, we must have faith that Christ is the Savior. Rather than looking at His works and wondering how or why, what we must do is entrust ourselves, in faith, to the God who loves us unconditionally. It is only through acceptance of the mystery of God’s love that we are able to fully enter into His love and will eventually be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 

As we continue to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, may our faith in the person of Jesus Christ continue to grow and may we humbly allow the Love of the Father to envelop every part of our being. 

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at

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I Am the Gate

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells His disciples: “I am the gate. Anyone who enters through me will be safe. . . . I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.”

Yes, Jesus came so that we may have life—life in Him and eternal life. 

But we cannot get through that gate without faithfulness to Him. In this life, we must follow Christ’s laws and His words so that we can attain eternal life.

Yet, we are a fallen people, and sometimes our tendency can be to try to find the easy way out, to try to find a backdoor to heaven or maybe to think that gate will be open despite very little effort to amend our lives. We rationalize our bad behaviors and lay the responsibility on God rather than on ourselves by believing that what we do isn’t so bad and that God’s mercy will save us at the last minute.

But there is no sneaking through. There is no back door. The only way to assure ourselves of eternal life is to do the hard work of following Christ’s commands now.

There’s no denying that this can be difficult. Standing up for what is right, for what is true, and for what is moral is not always the popular thing. Others may scoff at us. Others may tell us that our faith is pointless and that our beliefs have no place in this world. Even elected leaders pervert our faith and lead people astray.

During these times, we must understand that it is sinfulness that has led us away from the gate. It is a “me first” mentality that has kept us from reaching our full potential. And it is fear that convinces us we should stop trying to attain the sainthood that God calls us to. 

All of these things keep us from picking ourselves up and getting back on the road to Him.

We know that sin breaks His Sacred Heart. We know that each time we stray from the road that leads through the gates of heaven we crush Him. Yet He desires us. He longs for us. And even when we say “no” to Him, He’s still willing to say “yes” to us.

But we can only say “no” so many times before our death. That’s why we must learn to say “yes.”

When we fail, we must get back up. We tell Him we’re sorry. We confess. And we try again. 

Christ is always there beckoning. His compassion encourages us. His mercy consoles us. And His love sustains us. 

How can we not say “yes” to Him?

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Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, with an MA in liberal studies from Indiana University. For the past 17 years, she has worked as a professional editor and writer, editing both fiction and nonfiction books, magazine articles, blogs, educational lessons, professional materials and website content. Eleven of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently Susan freelances and writes weekly for HLI, edits for American Life League, and is the editor of Celebrate Life Magazine. She also serves as executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program-an educational nonprofit program for K-12 students.

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Listen for His voice

Imagine this: The God of the Universe, the Creator who came in human flesh, chose to speak to you about Himself. And the image He chooses to represent His infinite majesty and goodness is a shepherd. The most basic job in ancient society, the dirtiest and most overlooked position. Jesus, you could have said you were the Good Emperor, Good High King, Good General, or something like that. You would be beyond worthy of those titles and comparisons! But the Good Shepherd???

Jesus chose this title because it fit perfectly into the minds of his audience – the average simple person living in Judea. But also, the role of shepherd has rich imagery in the Old Testament. David, the youngest son of Jesse, is almost overlooked to be chosen for the kingship of Israel because he was out tending to his flock! Though he was a man after God’s own heart, he still fell short of being the ultimate Shepherd that the people of God needed. There is also a lot of imagery in the Psalms referring to Israel as sheep, and God himself as shepherd. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).

So what can we learn from this imagery, and what does Jesus himself say about it? It seems that humanity was in desperate need for a Shepherd that did not fail, did not mislead, did not run like the hired man who was only in it for money. But it seemed like the only way that could happen was if God himself, the shepherd from the Psalms, arrived to lead them. And in Jesus, that’s exactly what happened! God himself took on the basic, dirty job of tending his sheep, learning who they were, and ultimately laying his life down for them. Like David defending his flock from lions and bears, Jesus took on the jaws of death itself to save us. St. Cyril makes a great comparison between Adam and Jesus; how one misled the flock, and one rescued it: “Therefore, as the father of sin [Adam] had, as it were, shut up the sheep in hell, giving them to death to feed on, as it is written in the Psalms, He [Jesus] died for us as truly Good, and truly our Shepherd, so that, the dark shadow of death driven away, He might join us to the company of the blessed in heaven.”

My question for you is: do you know the voice of the one who has done this for us? It can certainly be hard (sheep aren’t exactly known for being the smartest animal). But He is worthy, and good, and will guide us to green pastures. His voice is in the scriptures, His voice in the beauty of creation. His voice is in the quiet place of prayer. His voice is in the hearts of all those who surround us. Take a moment to stop and listen for Him. Run towards that voice. Seek to be like Him in all things. Because even sheep know the voice of their shepherd.

Songs for reflection:

Shepherd – Bethel, Amanda Cook

No Longer Slaves – Bethel, Jonathan Helser

What a Beautiful Name – Hillsong Worship, Brooke Ligertwood

Where you Go I Go – Bethel, Brian Johnson

Cornerstone – Hillsong Worship, Reuben Morgan

There’s Nothing that our God can’t do – Passion, Kristian Stanfill

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Brendan is just your average Millennial hipster: He likes playing guitar, throwing frisbees, sipping whiskey, and grooming his beard. But he also has a passion for walking with teens and young Christ-followers, hearing every person’s story, and waking up the Church. Brendan works at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Lenexa, Kansas (near Kansas City) as a Youth Music Minister, fusing together his two loves of sharing Christ and sharing the power and need for good and beautiful contemporary praise.

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Does This Shock You?

Can you imagine? In today’s First Reading, we hear of Peter traveling, performing miracles, changing people’s hearts, and people having conversions of faith.  After seeing these kinds of miracles, or hearing them from your friends and family, it would be so much easier to believe. All the proof, the first-hand witness, is right there in front of you. That seems simple enough, right? 

Well… maybe not. 

During the season of Easter, we get to spend quality time with the disciples and Christ Jesus. We get to relive exactly how they felt about Jesus’ resurrection, complete with the awe, the shock, the terror, the… total disbelief. We, again, are reminded that the things that we take for granted as biblical facts, were kind of crazy at the time. 

Today’s Gospel picks up right after Jesus tells his followers that they will need to literally eat him, Jesus, to attain eternal life. Ya know, like the best thing since sliced bread. 

The disciples are, unsurprisingly, concerned with the fact that NO ONE is going to accept this, especially as a core belief. I just imagine a man sitting behind Jesus spitting out his wine, the women in the crowd exchanging looks, and Saint John saying, “I’m sorry, we have to what??” 

John’s Gospel puts it mildly, saying that “many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, ‘This saying is hard; who can accept it?’” to which Jesus replies, “Does this shock you?” (John 6:60,62). In reality, I’m sure there was a large uproar because I don’t know about you but, yeah, I definitely would have been shocked, even if I HAD already seen Jesus rise from the dead and perform miracles. 

Of course, Jesus recognizes that this sounds like a lot and knows that he will lose many followers, yet he does not change his stance. He does not say, “Oh, too weird? I was kidding. It was a test.” He then asks the twelve disciples, “Do you also want to leave?” 

Occasionally, we are asked this same question. Maybe it’s the loss of  a loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of faith.  I know there have been times when I asked myself, “Do you want to leave?”

But when you remember, truly remember, everything that God has given us, all the hope, all the love, all the forgiveness… I can only hope that you, like myself in the past, answer in Simon Peter’s words: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69). 

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Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Pennsylvania. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various Catholic articles in bulletins, newspapers, e-newsletters, and blogs. She continued sharing her faith after graduation as a web content strategist and digital project manager. Today, she continues this mission in her current role as communications director and project manager for Pentecost Today USA, a Catholic Charismatic Renewal organization in Pittsburgh. 

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