From the Desk
of Fr. Tony...
Fr. Tony Stubeda
Father Tony Stubeda
With You I am Well Pleased
My first assignment as a priest was at Holy Redeemer in Marshall. I was fortunate to work with a very good pastor, Fr. Darrold Lehman. He had a long history of working with newly ordained priests, and he was adept at using the enthusiasm and eagerness of priests much younger and less-experienced than he. He allowed me to grow in my priesthood, to explore my interests and to channel my energy into needed projects and ministerial initiatives. He was also able to steer me and his other young charges into the life of a priest with care and concern. He was very slow to praise, and even the faintest hint of his approval could make me smile and feel good about the direction I was headed in. Fr. Lehman also had a bit of a temper, and when he was displeased, it could make you wish you were assigned to a different parish. His anger never lasted long and most often ended with, “I am the pastor here, and you had better get used to it.” His storms were brief and intense, and he seemed to leave it behind after he had his say. On the other hand, I and others who worked with him, might feel a little bruised for a couple of days. Now that I am a pastor, I remember him often and pray in thanksgiving for the gift of his guidance and example. As we often do, I try to imitate his strong points, and to avoid those things I did not care for.
As we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, I find myself thinking about Fr. Lehman and his approach to those beginning their ministry. In today’s Gospel, God the Father expresses his full support and joy in his Son, Jesus. As Jesus prepares to begin his ministry of salvation and healing, the Father sends the Holy Spirit to guide him and speaks words of love and approval to him. The Father gives himself completely to Jesus, reminds him that he is beloved and that he has the Father’s approval and support. As Jesus begins his public ministry, there is no doubt that he is completely one with the Father and that the Spirit dwells with him.
On the days of our Baptisms, the Lord spoke those same words to us. He cried into our hearts that we were his beloved children, and that he was well pleased with us. He shared himself with us and anointed us to follow the example of Christ in bringing the Good News of God’s love and joy to the world. We were baptized into the Body of Christ, the Church to bring the Gospel to every corner of the earth. We were loved, chosen and called.
As we stand at the end of the great season of the revelation of Jesus as God made flesh among us, and prepare to enter the celebration and mystery of being disciples of Christ. God reminds us once again that we are his beloved, that he rejoices in us, and that the mission poured out in the Holy Spirit upon us is entrusted into our care and hearts.