By Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner
The Easter celebration continues. I always find the days of the first weeks of Easter uplifting. In the Scripture readings at Mass, we continually hear about the first days of the Church. We hear from the Acts of the Apostles how the faithful continued to meet and, sometimes, as they prayed together, the place where they met shook (Acts 4:31). The word of God was proclaimed boldly. The Holy Spirit filled the faithful. They worked miracles just as Jesus had, and they were even happy to suffer for the name of Jesus. The Church continued to grow. We hear the encouragement and reminder that Jesus “left us an example that we should follow in his footsteps” (1 Pt 2:21). The word used for “example” in that passage is, in the Greek text, “hupogrammos.” In Greece, youngsters were taught to write using a wax tablet and a stylus. The teacher would make an imprint in the wax, writing a word or sentence at the top of the tablet with the stylus. The student would then take the stylus and follow the grooves left by the teacher to learn to make the same letters and write the same sentences. The sample sentence was called the “hupogrammos”. A good teacher would even place his hand over the hand of the student as the sentence was traced, guiding the student to make the same letters, to write the same sentence, without a mistake.
It is a wonderful thought to know that not only has Jesus left us an example to follow, but his hand is there to guide us to do as he did in living the way of love. The disciples on the road to Emmaus were downcast, walking away from the faith community. They tell Jesus the good news but communicate it as bad news. Jesus joins their journey and helps them understand the good news as good news. Then he sends them back to join the faith community to share the good news. I pray that as we continue to celebrate Easter, you know the presence of the Risen Lord in your daily journey, and that you know his gentle guidance as you follow his example for living and share the good news with others.
WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS
On May 7, we will celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. On this day of prayer, the word “vocation” is understood as specifically referring to the call to live as a sister or brother, a nun or a monk, an ordained deacon or priest. I ask that special prayers be offered at the Masses on the weekend of May 6-7, first, in thanksgiving for the many wonderful vocations the Diocese of Crookston has known in our long history. Second, I ask that special prayers be offered asking the Good Lord to continue to bless us with the vocations we need. In his message for this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis encourages “parish communities, associations and the many prayer groups present in the Church, not to yield to discouragement but to continue praying that the Lord will send workers to his harvest.”
The Holy Father notes that vocations come from “attentive listening to God’s word” and he highly encourages the “cultivation of a personal relationship with the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration, the privileged ‘place’ for our encounter with God.”
Indeed, prayer before the Blessed Sacrament has been shown to be prayer that God truly answers. You have heard me before invite you to make use of the opportunities for Eucharistic adoration in your parish or deanery, and to pray for vocations while you are before the Blessed Sacrament. May the Good Lord bless us with good workers for the harvest here.