The internationally-known and timeless Frank Sinatra –
one of the 20th century’s great musicians and cultural figures –
is best remembered for his signature song “My Way.”
One might even consider that song the theme of his exciting self-made life,
and in certain ways it is.
Since Frankie made it famous, “I did it my Way”
has been a quintessential description of an accomplished life.
However, it is interesting to note, his tombstone in
includes an inscription from another of his famous songs.
His final resting place bears the words: “The best is yet to come!”
With everything from Burger King to Chase Bank
encouraging us to have it our way and to live how we want,
Frankie’s “My Way” is a theme
running through much of our contemporary culture.
And yet, the harsh realities of life show us that we can’t always have it our way,
and that living only for ourselves, or for this world,
ends in heartache and frustration.
Selfishness doesn’t help anyone to be happier.
Our experience proves this time and again.
The scriptures in the Easter season –
readings taken from the post-resurrection Gospels,
the accounts of the early Church in the Acts of the Apostles
and the Book of Revelation
focus our attention on higher realities than this world:
the love of God, the witness of the Church, and the glory of heaven.
In today’s Gospel, the apostles encounter the Risen Jesus while fishing.
On shore, Jesus has prepared a fire around which they all prepare and eat a meal.
Then, after the meal, Jesus engages Peter in a conversation of great significance.
Recall that, on the eve of Jesus’ passion, as He predicted,
Peter denied even knowing Jesus, three times,
while standing around a charcoal fire outside the home of the high priest.
To make up for his denial and pledge once again his loyalty to Jesus,
Peter now stands with Him, again around a charcoal fire,
and three times declares his love.
With each proposal of the question “Do you love me?”
Peter becomes more frustrated as the wound of his denial is re-opened
and he comes face-to-face with his human weakness.
Yet, with his pledge of love a deep bond is formed
and on the foundation of that love, professed without reservation,
Jesus issues his command to follow Him and to feed his sheep.
The encounter that Peter and the apostles have with the Risen Christ
changes their lives forever
and once they are filled with the promised Holy Spirit at Pentecost
they are compelled to proclaim the Good News
of their new life in Christ
and even to be joyful that they suffer dishonor for the sake of His name
as the Acts of the Apostles recalls for us today.
We hear Saint Peter speaking boldly before the Sanhedrin,
whose hatred for Jesus had led them to persecute His followers.
Peter says: “We are witnesses to Jesus. We must obey God rather than men!”
The apostles could no longer hide, deny, or cover up their love for Jesus.
They do not seek to have everything their way but God’s way!
They do not live for themselves, or for this world, or for man’s approval,
but for Heaven, their true home, where, indeed, the best is yet to come!
You and I have also encountered Christ and have been changed:
in His Church, through Word and Sacrament
in the common faith and sacrificial love of fellow Christian people.
We also possess the gift given to the apostles:
God’s love in our hearts, the Spirit dwelling in us because of our Baptism.
This is not a gift we can keep within us.
We, like Peter and the others, are compelled by our love for Jesus
to reveal His presence in our lives
and even to suffer dishonor for the sake of His name.
We are called to live not for ourselves but for Him who has loved us,
not for this world but for Heaven’s eternal joys.
Jesus shows His love for the apostles by inviting them to “Come, have breakfast.”
They experience His presence in simple ways: as He feeds them
and in their companionship with the Risen Christ.
The poor, suffering, and neglected of our community
experience companionship with the Risen Jesus through our love
as we share our resources and ourselves.
The work of Catholic Charities in our six-county diocese
is the living presence of Jesus for so many people in need:
people who have lost jobs, young mothers, parents of sick children,
and families struggling, even while working hard, to make ends meet.
The number of people helped by CC has increased by 35% this past year.
So, this weekend, on behalf of Bishop Murry and Father Helman,
I come to ask your support for the 2010 Bishop’s appeal.
The appeal is the primary source of funding for CC
as well as a source of funding for diocesan ministries and programs:
marriage and family life, religious education, vocations, and others.
The appeal allows the work of the Church in our midst to continue.
This year our parish goal is $139, 991.
50% of money raised above goal returns to the parish.
Personally, I give the full amount asked of diocesan priests to this appeal
and I ask you to join with me in supporting Bishop Murry
the work of our Church and the needs of our community,
by a generous pledge.
Our gift today may not seem valuable to us, will not bring us any worldly honor.
But today we store up treasure in Heaven.
Every gift matters…none is too small.
We all experience the burden of difficult economic times,
but today the love of God in our hearts
calls us to take part in witnessing to the presence of Jesus
by sacrificing for the sake of the suffering
and for the good of the Church.
Suggest $150.00 per family per year…
Many donors have given in advance…