Archive for May 7th, 2023

Finding Hope in Eternal Life — Funeral Homily for Glen Siverling, 104

May 7, 2023

By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

On behalf of St. Paul’s Parish and myself, I would like to extend our sincere sympathy to Glen John Siverling’s family, His children, his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He was born on January 19, 1919, in Bloomer. He graduated from Brush Prairie School, and married Edna Rubenzer on May 30, 1939, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Tilden.

After his marriage, he worked on the farm for twenty years. He and His wife raised four children. After they moved to Bloomer he did carpentry work for UBC. After they retired, they enjoyed with his wife by traveling, fishing, hunting, playing cards, and visiting family and friends. He was ready to help anybody at any time. He also made his own sausage with his grandchildren. He liked to listen to music and watch Westerns on Tv until his eyesight went bad. After his wife’s death, he moved to Meadowbrook’s rest home.

We have gathered here to pray for him. We believe that our prayer can help him. We know that prayer is powerful and believe that we can help the departed by praying for them. The best gift you can give to Glen is to pray for him. Prayer has lasting value.

Our Gospel reading today is filled with many comforting words from Jesus. Anyone who feels tired, emotionally empty, disappointed, abandoned, or depressed can easily be uplifted up by the comforting promise of Jesus that He will give rest. The last part of the Gospel is, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” This has been a huge help and consolation to the people. Those who have lost someone in the family, a soul at rest can share the peace of God.

We live in the hope that when our earthly journey is done, we will be at home with God forever. Only God can satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart. St. Augustine’s understanding of this truth led him to write, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

When we die, life is changed not ended. We remember people when they die and pray for them. We can also ask them to pray for us. This keeps us close to them and we will think of them frequently. The people of the church are in three areas, the Saints in heaven, the souls in purgatory, and those of us still living here on earth. We believe that all are united around Jesus’ cross and resurrection.

In the Apostles’ Creed we profess our faith. “I believe in the Holy Spirit the Holy Catholic Church the communion of saints the forgiveness of sins the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.” The living and the dead are united by praying for each other. This is the communion of saints that we profess we believe in during the Apostle Creed. I believe in the communion of saints. Believing in the communion of saints, believing that life is changed not ended, we pray for Glen John Siverling.

Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him
May he rest in peace!

Jesus: Our Way, Truth, & Life

May 7, 2023

5th Sunday of Easter
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

Time and again we experience fears, worries, and anxieties. Since our faith is weak and we focus on our problems instead of God, the Holy Bible, many, many times, advises us not to worry. When God created man and woman, living forever was perfect and beautiful. Man was meant to have a family without the fear of sickness and disease. We know the story of how man disobeys God and sin comes to be. In that very moment, Man went another way, to go to another place rather than to God. Everything was turned upside down.

Now we face death, we face pain, we face loss, and we have to struggle every day to make a living and keep our lives going. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, to walk away from God, but I have good news today. For those of you ready to come back to the Lord, there is a way. God has made a way for restoration, He has made a way for renewal, and His name is Jesus. Jesus is the way, the life, and the truth.

Our Lord Jesus is ready to open up our minds to receive the way, life, and truth. He is ready to bring us into a new life as the new creations that he has intended for each of us. How do we come back to the life that God has intended for each of us? The answer is found in today’s Gospel. Jesus was speaking to His disciples about a place He was going to prepare for them, where we are going to dwell with Jesus forever and live with God.

Jesus is the way because he is the only begotten Son of God. He is the safest and surest Way to God because he came from God and he can lead us to his heavenly Father. While he was still on earth, Jesus spoke much about his Father. He talked about his union with the Father, the goodness and compassion of the Father. He gathered the people, and he even ate with sinners with the aim to bring them back to the Father. Jesus’ sure Way to God is the narrow way of the cross. It is the least–traveled way to humble, loving, self–giving, and committed service to others, through which we can reach the Father.

Jesus is the truth. The words of Jesus are true, and this truth sets us free. Jesus is the truth because he is the only one who reveals to us the whole truth about God. He teaches us that God is a loving, merciful, providing, and forgiving Father.

Jesus is the life because he has Eternal life in himself. He is the one who gives us his life–giving Holy Spirit. In the Creed, we profess that we believe in life everlasting. This belief has its connection to our faith in Jesus who is life. If we chose life, then we need to remain in Jesus.

Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life has something to do with our day-to-day life. Just as Jesus is the way, we may also be the way or instrument for others to go to God. At the same time, we should also be bearers of truth and promoters of life.

God’s Glorious Temples

May 7, 2023

5th Sunday of Easter
By Fr. Victor Feltes

For the Jewish people, the temple in Israel was the one place where they could offer Old Covenant sacrifices to God. Jerusalem’s temple was at the center of their relationship with God. So it was very disturbing to Jesus’ hearers when he declared in its temple courts, “All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” Jesus was proven right about forty years later when the Romans conquered Jerusalem and destroyed that temple in 70 AD.

On another occasion, Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” Some Jews objected, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But St. John’s Gospel tells us Jesus “was speaking about the temple of his body.” In the New Covenant, Jesus Christ himself supersedes that temple in Israel at the center of our relationship with God.

Here in this holy church building we encounter Jesus and his one sacrifice. In this church, this New Covenant temple, we draw near to the Body of Christ, in his tabernacle, upon his altar, in his Most Blessed Sacrament. And as if that were not enough, in this church through baptism and the Holy Eucharist we become the body of Christ.

After his Ascension, when Christ appeared to an early enemy of his Church on the road to Damascus, he said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Saul asked, “Who are you, sir?” And the voice from heaven replied, “I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.” This Saul became better known after his conversion as St. Paul and his story affirms that Christ’s Church is more than just buildings but his holy people, and that Jesus is now mystically one with us.

In today’s second reading, we hear St. Peter—the Catholic Church’s first pope—tell us, “let yourselves be (like living stones) built into a spiritual house (that is, a temple) to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” We are called to be holy, called to be more like Jesus, called to offer spiritual sacrifices to God not only at Mass but throughout our lives.

What good is a having beautiful church building if our souls do not become more beautiful too? Jesus says possessing pleasing outward appearances without internal conversion and holiness is like being a whitewashed tomb, beautiful on the outside yet full of dead bones and uncleanliness within. So having a very beautiful church building is not enough. Jesus Christ must be our way, our truth, and our life, for no one comes to the Father except through him. Yet, it is most fitting and right our churches should be supremely beautiful, reflecting the beauty of our faith and the beautiful glory of God, so that others may be transformed by encounters with Jesus Christ like St. Paul our patron was.