5012 Seminary Road, Camarillo, CA 93012
Each spring, St. John’s Seminary welcomes benefactors and friends to our campus. This year, see the restored Stained Glass Windows in our Prayer Hall. Visit one of our newly revitalized Stations of the Cross. Pray in our chapel. Spend time in our historic library. Meet our seminarians. Let us show you how your prayers help our mission to prepare priests for service to the people of God in our Catholic community.
For information, contact (805) 482·2755, x1105 or email@example.com
Also visit: stjohnsem.edu
In the first of this weekend’s readings, from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear an account of how many people came to faith in the risen Jesus Christ through the testimony of Peter and the other apostles, and through witnessing signs and wonders done in their midst “at the hands of the apostles.”
In the second reading, John, caught up in the spirit on the Lord’s day, is told by one that he sees in a vision “like a son of man” to “write down, therefore, what you have seen, and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards.” Again, testimony.
And in the gospel, again, we hear of signs and wonders, and testimony. Despite locked doors, the risen Lord Jesus comes and stands in the midst of the disciples, saying “Peace be with you.” He shows them his wounds and gives them their mission: “as the Father has sent me, so I send you.” On Pentecost the fullness of the Holy Spirit is given to them and they are able to carry out their mission with astounding effectiveness, as is illustrated in today’s first reading.
The thing is, it’s our mission too to preach the good news, to be, as St. Teresa of Avila said, Christ’s body to be his hands, his feet, his compassion on earth. By baptism we are part of an unbroken line of succession, going back to the earliest apostles who walked the earth with, and received the mission from Jesus himself, risen from the dead.
But Thomas wasn’t there that night and he wasn’t going to believe on the testimony of his fellow apostles alone. In fact, in words he may later have regretted, he declares that he will never believe without seeing and probing Jesus’ wounds for himself.
When I was younger and first heard this story, Thomas’ standing seemed to be portrayed as “less than” that of the disciples that were there: “blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” What we can never know, though, is how any of the other disciples might have reacted if they were the one absent that night. And what about us? Are we among the blessed because we have not seen yet have believed?
I have always identified with Thomas and his obstinate insistence on evidence. What I love about this gospel story though is another sign and wonder: Jesus already knew Thomas’ heart when he appeared again and invited him to probe his wounds. The Lord knew what Thomas needed to come to belief and in his love provided it. Thomas went on to evangelize, faithful to the mission given by Jesus Christ. India was where he ended up, and the community of Christians he founded there still exists today. It is concentrated in the Indian state of Kerala, boasting an impressive eight million members, according to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association*. Not too shabby for one who doubted, eh? So take heart if you struggle with doubt and ask the Lord to give you what you need to be faithful to the mission. He will, though you may not immediately “see” it.
* This information courtesy of catholicexchange.com
Easter greetings and hope for a bright future to you, whatever brings you to Padre Serra Parish today. You are most welcome, you are most wanted, and for as long as you are here, be at home in this vineyard of the Lord.
Our religious yearnings can leave us stretching in new ways. So if you come to this Easter Sunday a searcher, let me encourage you to seek the answers to your life’s questions in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. He is for us the
answer to our uncertainties, the light that shines even when all else is dark, the voice that calls us to growth and challenges us to love yet more.
Jesus’ death was a share in our human destiny. His resurrection is the bright promise for us of future union with God the Father. So, if you have brought any sorrow or heaviness to this Easter Day, I invite you to lay it at the foot of Jesus’ cross, and allow new life, His life, to be reborn in you.
Jesus’ victory over darkness and death can be ours…can be yours. The Easter egg, itself, is a symbol of life arising from unexpected places. So, if you come here troubled, with fear, or facing huge dilemmas, let the Lord’s victory over death take root in your life, leading to your renewal.
And if, by blessed chance, you come with joy in your heart, I encourage you to celebrate with full voice and heart. To be able to do that would be the very essence of Easter – celebrating what God the Father has done, conquering
death through the resurrection of His Son from the dead.
On this wonderful day of celebration, my prayer for you is
I’m so pleased that you are here, and that together we can rejoice in what God has done for us. Every Easter blessing to you and those you love.
Dear Faith Family,
Happy Palm Sunday! We are inching toward the celebration of our Risen Lord.
Before we go into the miracle of the Resurrection though, it is always helpful to dive into Jesus’ Passion. Holy Week is an incredibly somber moment. It’s hard not to feel sadness when we dive deep into the experience of the suffering of our God. Our human instinct drives us the opposite way, as it should, but I want to express the importance of understanding the difficulties of Christ’s passion.
We’ve heard the story a thousand times. God became man. Sometimes we hear it so often that it doesn’t strike us as much as it should. This is why Holy Week is so important. It’s not the idea of being masochistic or glorifying pain, but rather, when we contemplate the Passion of Christ, we recognize the motives behind it: God has always been willing to die for us.
Personal suffering should not be pursued in our lives (I want to stress the importance of this), but we also know that sadness is inevitable at various times in our lives. We will suffer from loss and struggle in various forms — it’s a part of being human. The reason we dive into Jesus’ Passion so intently is to recognize that He was willing to be one of us, for us.
So although it may feel somber to experience Christ’s Passion, the reality is, that through His suffering, He conquered death. We have such a unique faith that expresses that what we go through, (whether it is the highs of our lives or our lows) that Christ has experienced it and transformed it.
When we exclaim that Christ conquered death, it is not just in the moment of His Resurrection, but through Christ, death is not the end. So throughout this week I invite you to remind yourself in prayer, that death is not the end and that is how God intended it to be.
Youth and Young Adult Minister
Dear friends on the journey,
Recently a Facebook friend posted about an “answered prayer” so I settled in to read the post, thinking it was going to be a heartwarming story. What I found was a tale of road rage in L.A. traffic in which he “prayed” that an impatient, somewhat erratic driver who passed him by would experience a flat tire. And what did he find a few miles up the road... the crazy driver in the shoulder with a flat tire! The acquaintance was quite pleased with his “prayer” and God for listening.
I was really surprised by this post, thinking he really misunderstands the concept of prayer but then today’s gospel of the woman caught in adultery reminded me how dangerous and common a self righteous attitude can be. The scribes, Pharisees and Jesus know full well that, according to Mosaic law, adultery is punishable by stoning. In their righteousness the scribes and Pharisees are hoping to punish a guilty woman and testing Jesus to see if he will follow the law. They are ready to lob stones at her. But Jesus counters and says, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” What happens next is hopeful. They all leave. The woman is untouched. Jesus forgives her and tells her to sin no more.
How many times do we pass judgment on someone for something they have done wrong and hope they “get what they deserve?” How often do we hope a guilty person gets the worst possible punishment? Have we ever taken a little bit of delight in someone’s pain or punishment? This self righteous attitude is unproductive, dangerous, and sinful on our part.
How can we possibly know what someone else is going through? Why was that guy driving erratically on the freeway? Why was that woman in such a relationship? Why is that teenager acting out? Why is our neighbor always so prickly? Why is that coworker always so difficult? Why is that kid such a bully? Why is that cashier so grumpy?
If we’re really made in God’s image, then we’re inherently good. We’re all wired for good, but this life is not perfect. We make bad decisions. We choose the wrong actions and words. Sometimes we’re on the receiving end of another’s bad decisions, leaving us to perpetuate the harm and pain. God did not promise an easy life but he promises to be with us through the trials. God promises us forgiveness. When was the last time we asked for forgiveness? What did that feel like?
We have two weeks left of Lent. Perhaps we can take this remaining time before Easter to reflect on our moments of self righteousness and then put ourselves in the place of the adulterous woman. Put ourselves in the places of our own guilt and shame and remember what forgiveness feels like. Instead of delighting in another’s guilt and misfortune, let us put down our stones and delight in another’s experience of Jesus’ care and compassion and God’s mercy.
Faith Life Minister
This is a beautiful, wonderful, friendly bunch of folks! Every year with about 600 children and teens enrolled in after school learning, we really need about 100 loving, happy adults to help teach and lead. This small army of volunteers are the face of Jesus and his church to our young people. Our Faith Formation staff do all the work! We plan and write all the lessons, prepare all the games, crafts and other materials. We create teams of two to lead the sessions then train, mentor and guide you throughout the year. You are never alone. You just have a great time rolling it out with your partner. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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