“If you love me you will keep my commandments.” It’s really as simple as that. We are only paying lip service to the Lord if we externally declare ourselves to be Christians but don’t follow through on a life that confirms it. In our modern culture, we often think of love as a feeling or a kind of devotion. It is thus all too common to separate love from appropriate action. Perhaps we reassure ourselves that we love Jesus because we believe that He is the Son of God and our personal Savior. But these thoughts—or even any grateful or pleasant feelings that come along with them—are not the fullest manifestation of real love. Rather, as Jesus tells us directly in today’s Gospel, “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.” Now, for those of us who may be asking what exactly these commandments are, it’s helpful to remember Jesus’ response when He was questioned on the subject. “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:37-39). These fundamental principles embrace everything that Jesus calls us to do. If we put God first and foremost in our lives, and if we treat our neighbors as we would wish to be treated, then all the rest falls into place. The Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and any other fundamental Christian codes of behavior are all summed up here. Indeed, if we truly seek to love Jesus, putting Him first and following His ways won’t feel like a burden but rather like a beautiful blessing.
FROM THE RECTORY:
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ below is a little story I came across which touched my heart so I thought I would share it with all of you: The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read, beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree. Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown, for the world was intent on dragging me down. And if that weren’t enough to ruin my day, a young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play. He stood right before me with his head tilted down and said with great excitement, “Look what I found!” In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight, with its petals all worn – not enough rain, or too little light. Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play, I faked a small smile and then shifted away. But instead of retreating, he sat by my side and placed the flower to his nose, and declared with overacted surprise, “It sure smells pretty, and it’s beautiful, too. That’s why I picked it. Here, it’s for you.” The weed he gave me was dying or dead. Not vibrant of colors: orange, yellow or red. But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave. So I reached for the flower, and sneered, “Just what I need.” But instead of him placing the flower in my hand, He held it mid-air without reason or plan. It was then that I noticed for the very first time: That weed-toting boy could not see. He was blind. I heard my voice quiver; tears shone in the sun, as I thanked him for picking the very best one. You’re welcome,” he smiled, and then ran off to play, unaware of the impact he’d had on my day. I sat there and wondered how he managed to see, a self-pitying man beneath that old willow tree. How did he know of my self-indulged plight? Perhaps from his heart he was blessed with true sight. Through the eyes of a blind child at last I could see: The problem was not with the world; the problem was me. And for all of those times I myself had been blind, I vowed to see the beauty in life and appreciate what was mine. And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose and breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose, and smiled as I watched that young boy, another weed in his hand, about to change the life of another old man. God and the beauty He has made is all around us we just have to look to see it.
God Bless you and have a wonderful week, Fr. Michael
SCRIPTURAL REFLECTIONS ON STEWARDSHIP
The old line says “if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” Many of us are diligent in our planning, making sure things are progressing smoothly, then disaster strikes, we don’t get the result that was intended. An unforeseen problem arises. Many times we may respond negatively. Why me? I did everything right! Here’s the thing – God has a different and better plan in store for you.
The gift of Bread & Wine for the first two weeks of May has been given in memory of Cecelia & George Furman & Bertha Nemec by Mr. & Mrs. George Furman.
The second two weeks have been given in memory of Andrew Napotina by Velona Napotina.
The gift of Altar Flowers for the first two weeks of May has been given in memory of Catherine Napotina by Velona Napotina. The second two weeks have been given in memory of Lenny Falato by his family.
This annual appeal is our way to participate in the ministries the Archdiocese provides to help many that need assistance, education and support. Our pledges to date are $1,995. If we exceed our goal, which is $8,800, our parish will receive a rebate that can be used to further our own parish mission. There are brochures and pledge cards in the pews. Your pledge can be paid off over the next year in monthly installments. We appreciate your generosity!
REMEMBER OUR MEMBERS IN YOUR PRAYERS
Please pray for: Kellie & Kathy Salata, Kelly Chinchar, Jessica, Carol Mangino, Gloria, Daniel Breslin, Stanley, Marie, Bonnie, Helen Traina, Joseph Marrone, Bill Marshall, Blase Coppola, Anthony & Michael.
LIVE THE LITURGY INSPIRATION FOR THE WEEK
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows Him. But you know Him, because He remains with you, and will be in you.” – Jn 14:15-17
What is the best way to ensure our parish receives the support needed for our operating expenses and ministries? eGiving through Parish Giving! We are excited to introduce “Enhanced Stewardship through Electronic Funds Transfer” for your weekly offertory. No more envelopes or last-minute check writing! Electronic giving is safe and easy for you and good stewardship for the parish. Please enroll today by visiting www.icchackensack.com. and click on the logo that is on top of the website. Increased enrollment with Parish Giving will help stabilize our parish finances. There are brochures in the pews or visit Parish Giving at www.parishgiving.org
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR FIRST COMMUNICANTS
Gracie, Marcello and Victoria
INK AND TONER RECYCLING UPDATE
We thank you for answering our plea for cartridges to be recycled and the response has been overwhelming. But there is a limit that we can turn in per month for a rebate and we are running out of room to store them. So we are asking you to hold off bringing them in for now. When we recycle all that we have already, we will ask for them again, probably not until the end of the year.