Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This Sunday’s gospel is a great reminder of Jesus’ deep desire for us to remain in His love so that our joy may be complete. Remaining in Jesus’ love by keeping the commandments is not an easy task, but those who do are rewarded with joy. Our faith goal should always be to experience this joy.

So many worldly distractions distract us from our faithfulness to the commandments, and as a result can be the loss of our joy. We need to recognize that we have been chosen by Jesus and appointed to go and bear fruit. Jesus knows our gifts and talents as well as our failures. Through our reliance on his grace, we discern the distractions that come with living in the world. The Holy Spirit, freely given to us, is our guide to understanding the will that God has for each of us and will direct us all into a deeper understand that love in which we desire to remain.

I know for myself, throughout this pandemic I have been challenged by how to reflect that joy and love toward my neighbors. My greatest personal challenge has been the different interpretations people have regarding the virus. Even today, as we better understand the spread of the virus and vaccines become more available, each of us sees this situation differently. I have experienced in myself a sense of selfishness when it comes to wearing a mask, social distancing, and traveling. I think to myself: “I’ve had Covid so I have the antibodies, and I’ve received both shots of the vaccine, and I’ve been tested numerous times. I don’t need to follow these mandates anymore.” Does that show love to my neighbor? In reflection I realize it is a selfish way to think that serves my personal agenda but doesn’t honor the still very real concerns of others and their often times unique situations.

Remaining in Jesus’ love means to sacrifice. For me, that means sacrificing my pride for the good of others. It may be true that my risk of getting the virus again is low, and it’s possible my ability to spread the virus is minimal, but I cannot presume that the people I encounter share the same circumstances or mindset. There are still many unknowns. Our call to keep the commandments includes being attentive to the needs of our neighbors. Wearing a mask and respecting a person’s space should not be seen as a burden but as a sign of love and respect. It is an expression of support to help all of us continue persevering through these challenging times and serves as a witness to the joy that Jesus desires for each of us.

Mother’s Day is upon us. Let us thank our mothers, living and deceased, for their motherly care. Let us also remember all those “mothers” that have supported and guided each of us through life’s journey.

Easter Joy!
Fr. Workman