This verse from today’s Responsorial Psalm expresses the effect of the Easter mystery on our lives. Mourning is related to death; dancing is a celebration of the joy of living. In the resurrection of Jesus life triumphs over death, joy over grief, love over fear. In today’s Gospel Peter, who had denied the Lord three times out of fear, professes his love for Jesus three times. The Apostle John says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18) In last Sunday’s Gospel we heard, “The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” Today’s First Reading demonstrates the fearless love of the apostles who not only do not back down when questioned by the Sanhedrin who had succeeded in having Jesus crucified, but they leave “rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name [of Jesus].”
Peter’s profession of love for Jesus in today’s Gospel entails a responsibility. He who had called himself the Good Shepherd (cf. John 10:11) now entrusts his flock to Peter: “Feed my lambs; feed my sheep.” Then he who had died and was now raised tells Peter that he, too, shall be put to death; but that by his death “he would glorify God.” Love will again triumph over fear, life over death.
This great season of grace continues this week as Confirmation is conferred upon young people from both parishes this Sunday afternoon, at St. Charles Church, at 1:00. Second graders from St. Peter Parish will receive their First Holy Communion during the 9:00 Mass next Sunday, May 12. The Church is enriched and renewed by the grace of these sacraments effective in the lives of her members.
This great season of grace continues in our diocese as four seminarians were ordained deacons this past Saturday morning, May 4. They are Samuel McCarty from St. Michael Parish, Wausau; Joseph Richards from St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral Parish, La Crosse; Levi Schmitt from Sacred Heart Parish, Elmwood; and Daniel Williams from All Saints Parish, Cadott-Boyd-Stanley. God willing, all will be ordained priests for our diocese next year. Please keep them and all our seminarians in your prayers.
An important feast occurs this week on Tuesday, May 7: the Anniversary of the Dedication of the Cathedral. Because the Cathedral is the diocesan church, it is the home and mother church of all Christ’s faithful in the La Crosse Diocese. The anniversary of its dedication is ordinarily celebrated throughout the diocese for this reason. This is a feast not so much of the building, but of the Church—the community of the faithful which gathers within it, especially under the leadership of the diocesan bishop, to hear the word of God and to celebrate the mysteries of faith, especially the sacraments. Because the Church is the Body of Christ, the feast of the dedication of a church is considered to be a feast of the Lord. This Tuesday, then, we celebrate our identity as a diocese, symbolized by our Cathedral church.
Pray the rosary this week for the young people from our parishes who are being confirmed this Sunday afternoon, that they may be life-long active members of the Church. Pray for good weather for a productive planting and growing season. Pray for the needs of the Church in our diocese and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.