A Message from Father Slezak
Father Slezak's Easter Message:
Two thousand years ago, Jesus was raised from the dead, forever changing human history. Those in and around Jerusalem were filled with mixed emotions from sheer panic to abiding peace. They must have asked how this is possible. Who is this Jesus Christ? Will this change everything?
Easter Sunday calls to mind this earth-shattering event in history, but in reality, what we are celebrating today is not history, but mystery. A mystery is something we cannot quite fully understand, which means it must be revealed to us. We are not back at the tomb as if we hit the rewind button on our television, nor are we reenacting an event in a controlled setting. We are not only celebrating what once happened to Jesus, but rather what is now happening among us as a people called to conversion. The same message and meaning of the Resurrection is being revealed to us now: “I am the resurrection. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25
Do we believe that this event happened and is still unfolding before us? If you do, we should be filled with hope because the power of the Resurrection can break through into every aspect of our lives - in our hearts, our consciences, our fears and pains, in our joys and sorrows. This power is manifested, still, here in now, each time the faithful gather to celebrate the Sacraments, read the sacred Word of God, perform the corporeal and spiritual works of mercy, and adore the Eucharist etc. Since we believe Jesus is alive and at work here and now, we look for him every single day of our lives. Our search will not come up empty - like the tomb – but we will find Him for “He is truly risen”.
A Very Blessed Easter to All!
In the risen Christ,
Fr. Brian K. Slezak
Father Slezak’s Message on Palm Sunday:
When I returned to the rectory one night this past week, I saw two large boxes marked “Palm Branches.” I knew these were delivered for our use during the Palm Sunday Masses, but it made me wonder, “What’s the significance of palms? Why do we pick up palms this week and take them home?”
After doing a little research, I realized the custom of holding palm branches comes from Israel’s pilgrim liturgy described in Psalm 118,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD…Join in procession with leafy branches up to the horns of the altar.” - Psalm 118
The crowd following Jesus, which had been growing over the past few weeks, reaches its peak as Jesus enters Jerusalem. They pluck branches from the trees and cry out words of blessing, which on their lips become a Messianic proclamation. Today we hold branches in procession and at Mass we cry out with joy “Hosanna in the Highest” as our Messiah and King comes upon the altar in the Eucharist.
In the Passion narrative, men come with swords and clubs to take Jesus away. Our Blessed Lord teaches us that all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Instead of actual swords, we hold spiritual ones - Palms pointing up to heaven. We hold our palms today, a reminder that we are the Church Militant, an army engaged in a spiritual battle here on earth. Our palms, taken home will serve as a witness of our faith that Christ is the Messiah who has conquered sin and death.
Today begins the Holiest week of the year for Christians all around the world. As we move through this week, our activities and attitudes should be a little different than during any other week of the year. You will see in this bulletin additional opportunities for confession, prayer, and devotions this week. I hope you can join us for most of them, especially during the Holy Tridium – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil)