• Mass Times

• Coming Events

• Sacraments

• Ministries

• Parish Staff

• Consultative Bodies

• Photo Gallery

• Virtual Tour

• History

• Contribute


• Bulletin

• In Your Midst

• Pastor's Desk


• Becoming Catholic

• Bookstore

• Faith Formation

• Funerals

• Immigrant Assistance

• Liturgy

• Mental Health

• Music

• Outreach/Advocacy

• Pastoral Care

• Weddings

• Young Adults

• Youth Ministry




The Third Sunday of Easter
May 2, 2022

Watch this homily!


     Business as usual is the thought that came to mind when I reflected on today’s passage from John’s gospel. In that reading, it looks like the disciples of Jesus were back to business as usual - back to where they had started, to doing what they had done before they had met the charismatic, irresistible rabbi from Nazareth. They were fishermen and here they were back doing what they knew best: fishing.

     But the reading from Acts told quite a different story. It fast-forwarded us in time to the moment when Peter and his companions stood before the high priest who gave them stern warning not to speak any more about this Jesus. And when Peter boldly declared that his obedience was to God and not to human beings, well, this was clearly not business as usual! Business as usual for Peter was talking big but delivering small: “Even though all deny you, I will never deny you!”  Business as usual for Peter was shamelessly caving in three times when the going got rough, denying that he even knew Jesus.

     Why the change? We know very well. Peter had encountered the risen Jesus or, better, the risen Jesus had encountered Peter. He had called out to him from the shore, surprised him and his companions with a huge catch of fish, fed breakfast to him and the others on the shore, questioned him about his love not once but three times, prepared him for what his future would be, and called him once again to follow. That marked the end of business as usual. The encounter with the Risen Lord changed everything!

     So, what about us? In the celebrations of the past few weeks we have encountered Jesus. There were the powerful celebrations of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter when we went from Upper Room to Calvary to basking in the glorious presence of Christ triumphant over death. But that was then.  What about now? Are we back to business as usual? Speaking for myself, and maybe for you, I’d have to say that it’s not easy to stay on an Easter ‘high!’

     In one of his poems, the great 19th century Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins comes close to coining a word: “Let Christ Easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us” the poem goes. Let Christ “Easter” in us. The poet cleverly turned the Easter noun into a verb, turned it into something – no, turned it into someone – dynamic and alive, someone who can transform us from the inside-out.

     But, my friends, how do w turn Easter into a verb? How do we let Christ “Easter” in us?  Jesus showed us the way in his exchange with Peter in today’s gospel reading. “Do you love me?” Jesus asked Peter three times, and each time, when Peter assured him of his love, Jesus showed him that love was not only a verb but a most challenging verb: “Feed my lambs,” he said, “Feed my sheep!”  My friends, that’s how Christ “Easters” in us. That’s how we keep Easter alive. When we love others – love them in practical, down-to-earth, selfless ways, Christ is “Eastering” in us. And love like this makes Easter last far beyond a day.

     Now, let me point to a very practical way by which we can all respond to Jesus’ invitation to feed his lambs, to tend his sheep. I’m talking about stepping up and making a gift to the Annual Catholic Appeal. I suspect I just caused a little whiplash there (if so, you can file an insurance claim!), but the Annual Appeal really is about feeding the flock of Christ.

     Let me explain. Your support of the Annual Appeal feeds the flock by helping our wonderful Catholic schools teach our young people about Jesus while providing them with a first-rate education. And your support covers the considerable costs of preparing men for the priesthood who will one day feed the flock of Christ. And your support for the Appeal helps Catholic Community Services do their amazing outreach to the poor and immigrants and refugees, providing them with housing, advocacy, and basic human services. And it provides chaplains for our hospitals and prisons around Western Washington and CYO camps for our kids. That’s only a small sampling of what the Annual Catholic Appeal makes possible and all of it, in one way or another, is feeding the flock of Christ. So, it’s a good cause, and a necessary one, and it’s part of what it means to be a disciple and to be Catholic.

     The goal set for us by the Archdiocese is $320,000 - a little less than last year, so that’s good! And our hope is not only to meet that goal but to surpass it because, as you know, our parish receives back as a rebate everything that is given over and above the goal. I’ve shared with you in my letter that our plan this year is to use any rebate monies to help offset the significant costs involved in our parish’s extraordinary Immigrant Assistance Program.In recent months, through St. James Immigrant Assistance, we have been able to welcome Afghan refugee families into our midst, helping them settle into a new life in the United States. And in the coming months, we hope to welcome families fleeing the war in Ukraine. So your support of this important ministry could not be more timely. We'll hear more about the work of St. James Immigrant Assistance in a moment.

     My friends, if Jesus is truly going to “Easter” in us, it will only be because we keep finding ways to reach out beyond ourselves to tend the lambs, to feed the flock. Your support of the Annual Catholic Appeal is one way of doing this, one good way of turning Easter from a noun into a verb!

     And now, to share a bit more about what we are able to accomplish through our St. James Immigrant Assistance Program, I’d like to invite to the ambo Sarah Riggio, who with her family has been actively involved in our outreach to refugees for several years. Please join me in welcoming Sarah.

Father Michael G. Ryan

* * * * *

     I am so honored to be able to share briefly with you the gospel work of “welcoming the stranger” that takes place through the Immigrant Assistance ministry here at the Cathedral. My family has personally been involved with this ministry for the past several years.
     For those who do not know, St. James Immigrant Assistance has been serving the immigrant and refugee population in the greater Seattle area for a little more than 45 years, offering ESL tutoring, legal assistance, citizenship preparation, educational programs, and advocacy: welcoming the “stranger” in our midst, and saying “we will join you in the whole process of establishing a life here in the United States”.
     Nowhere is this more evident than in the recent work of welcoming Afghan refugees. Over 20 people have formed a Cathedral “sponsor circle,” volunteering countless hours to welcome two Afghan families recently resettled here in Seattle, after the evacuation of tens of thousands from Afghanistan this past August. One of those two families spent their first month and a half in Seattle living in my home with my family.
     We were so honored to welcome this father and mother and their one-year old daughter into our home. Over cups of tea and sharing of naan, we learned their story, which is one of unspeakable hardship, as well as bravery and resilience. We formed deep bonds, in spite of incredible language and cultural barriers. It felt like Pentecost being lived out through Microsoft translate and playing charades! There was such a deep desire on both sides to connect in spite of coming from different worlds. The ongoing joke in our house during this time was the marvel of machinery in America. Through the eyes of our Afghan guests, we could see their wonder as for the first time they encountered things we take for granted--a can opener, a dishwasher, a laundry machine, an electric toothbrush, a rice cooker, a blender--everything was “America- machine” …one day the father joked with a big smile holding up a fork with a bowl, and a banana in the other hand— pointing to the fork and saying “Afghan machine.”
     Members of the Cathedral sponsor circle have procured licenses, spent hours on hold with DSHS getting food benefits and accompanying to doctors’ appointments, especially for one of the Afghan mothers who is currently pregnant with her second child. Volunteers, and other generous parishioners, have found items to fill and furnish the new apartments. They have helped find work for the fathers and taught them to shop and use public transportation. In all of this, across language barriers, we said to these Afghan refugees: “you are welcome here. We want to walk with you through this incredible challenge of being a stranger in a strange land.”
     On behalf of all the Sponsor Circle, and the Afghan families themselves, we say “Tashakur” “Thank you” to the St. James community for prioritizing the least of these—the refugees and asylees and immigrants in our midst.  Your support, through financial giving, volunteering, and prayer, has been life-giving to these two families and to the thousands who have received assistance through St. James Immigrant Assistance. As more refugees find themselves in our midst, may we continue to do this gospel work of welcoming the stranger with love, understanding, and compassion. Thank you.

Sarah Riggio






Return to St. James Cathedral Parish Website

804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303