Voices of Faith

The Fifth Sunday of Easter

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There is not Easter without joy, and there is not joy without commitment.

When we listen to the stories of the Acts of the Apostles, it causes me to ponder these two words. They were overcome with Joy, because their Master, their Teacher, their Lord had conquered death and is present among them. He is real; but not only that, He has sent them out to proclaim such a joy, to share it without fear; in other words, they took ownership of the Good News and took the commitment to be ambassadors of the Gospel.

The joy and commitment we observed in the first members of the Church should be the same attitude we embody today through the way we live and express our Faith — not being just a “Sunday Catholic” but people who make Faith the center of life as a living expression of joy and commitment to the living God. If we take Easter to heart and translate the words of the Gospel today “Whoever remains in Me and I in Him will bear much fruit,” we will change lives and present a living Faith as proof of our commitment as disciples.

Before Lent, the youth group of the Hispanic community — “JPJ” — wanted to conduct a parish mission as Pope Francis asked the faithful to do — “go to the peripheries” and “make a mess.” They decided to go almost door-by-door and bring the good news to show the face of St. Joseph Parish to people who do not even know we exist in the community. It was a great idea “but crazy,” and one worthy of trying.

Our Youth Group members and others from the St. Joseph Hispanic Community were given the tools needed to go out, to renew our first call to be disciples. Many of them went to stores, apartments, parking lots, etc. It was a real sharing of joy and commitment to our real identity of Faith.

This past weekend the mission concluded. We had music, prayer, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and food. Seeing in them their courage, enthusiasm, and living Faith made me think – “can all of us leave our ‘comfort zones’ and be a parish in constant mission to embody the first disciples?” There are many things we do, but I challenge you to think “what can I do?” because there is always a “what else can we do?” Just remember: “There is not Easter without joy, and there is not joy without commitment!”

With joy and commitment,

Fr. Carlos