Having completed the celebration of the liturgical seasons which highlight various aspects of the mystery of our redemption, today we simply celebrate the mystery of God himself: one God in three divine persons. No human categories can adequately express the mystery of God. When we speak of the three divine persons, for example, we must resist the temptation to conceive of the Trinity as three individuals who are all God. A creed from the fourth or fifth century called the Athanasian Creed says: “There is one person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit. But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have one divinity, equal glory and coeternal majesty…The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. However, there are not three gods, but one God.” And so on.
Throughout the Old Testament period God revealed himself to be the one true God. In today’s First Reading Moses reminds the Hebrews that they must remain faithful to this one true God when they enter the Promised Land. The one true God revealed himself to this tiny nation and they were, in turn, to reveal him to the whole world.
We could not know that the one God is a Trinity of persons if God had not revealed this to us. This revelation came through God the Son made man, Jesus Christ, and has been revealed to the world through preaching and baptism, in fulfillment of the commission entrusted to the Church by Jesus in today’s Gospel. We, the baptized, are drawn into the very mystery of the Trinity, having become God’s children by adoption. (Cf. today’s Second Reading) God made us. Through the incarnation he has reached out to us. By Christ’s passion, death and resurrection he has redeemed us. When he ascended into heaven Christ “raised our frail human nature to glory.” By the rebirth of baptism, he has drawn us into the mystery of his divine life by his saving embrace. As members of the pilgrim Church we continue our life’s journey to union with God in heaven. As is sometimes said, the whole of Christian doctrine can be summed up in the Trinity.
Our parishes’ fiscal year ends on June 30. Pledges to the Diocesan Annual Appeal must be received by that date to be credited for this year. Please honor your pledges to the Appeal and continue your support of our parishes. Due to some extraordinary gifts, both parishes have reached their targets. Everything received now comes back to us exempt from any diocesan assessments.
This past week we did some repairs on the ceiling of St. Charles Church. This was financed by a gift from the estate of Margaret Durch. Thanks to her family for directing that some of her bequest be used for this purpose.
I have been in La Crosse the latter part of this week and this weekend working on the conclusion of the first part of the process for the beatification of Father Joseph Walijewski, a priest of our diocese who spent most of his priesthood as a missionary in South America and who died in 2006. Bishop Callahan opened this process in 2013 and I was appointed Episcopal Delegate, the one responsible for overseeing the process. Personnel from Rome were in La Crosse these past few days to help us put things in proper order. I will write more about this in the future.
This week we celebrate Memorial Day. It is kind of a national All Souls’ Day. Originally a day to remember those who died during the Civil War, the holiday eventually included a remembrance of all who died in service to our country and later all deceased veterans. By extension it has become a day to visit cemeteries and remember all deceased relatives and friends. There is no better way for American Catholics to do this than by participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and praying for the departed. Father Jesse Burish will offer Mass at the outdoor altar in Hope Cemetery at 9:00 on Monday morning, weather permitting. In the event of inclement weather, the Mass will be celebrated in Notre Dame Church. Father Miller will celebrate Mass in St. Peter Church at 8:30 Monday morning followed by a visit to the cemetery.
Pray the rosary this week for students who are graduating from any level of schooling, that they may always put to good use what they have learned. Pray also for good weather for the spring planting and growing season. Pray for those from our area serving in the armed forces and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.