June 25, 2023

It doesn’t seem possible that today is the final Sunday of June. The month is passing by way too quickly. We have one more major feast on our church calendar here in June this week. Thursday, June 29 is the feast of Sts. Peter & Paul. Peter was one of the original twelve apostles and, along with James and John, was with Jesus at each of the most significant moments in his ministry. Paul, originally a Pharisee known as Saul, was called by the Lord to be the apostle to the Gentiles. Originally an adamant persecutor of the church, Paul led the early missionary efforts of the church beyond the borders of Israel into Asia, Europe and ultimately Rome. These two apostles are among the “giants” of the early church.

“The whole journey of life is a journey of preparation…to see, to feel, to understand the beauty of what lies ahead, of the homeland towards which we walk.”

Pope Francis

We look to the saints as role models and examples of encouragement in our own efforts to be disciples of the Lord. A common practice, though, is to elevate them to such a degree that we can no longer identify with them as human people. We remember their greatness and their successes and forget about their human struggles. Fortunately with Peter and Paul, their human side is clearly recorded for us in the Scriptures.

We are told that Peter had a tempter and was a “hot-head.” He also gave in to his fears when he denied knowing the Lord following Jesus’ arrest on Holy Thursday. The good news is that Peter recovered and spent the rest of his life professing his faith in the risen Lord.

As a Pharisee, Paul was stubborn, rigid and resisted change of any kind. He believed that he knew all that there was to know about God and could not imagine God acting any different from his expectations. He channeled all of his energy into destroying the new Christian movement. His efforts were so intense that God had to literally knock him off of his horse in order to get his attention. Following his conversion, Paul channeled that same energy into proclaiming his newfound faith throughout the known world. Both of these apostles became martyrs in Rome.

It is important for us to remember the struggles and the failures of our saints. We look to them as examples of Christian living as we follow the same path. When we rob them of their humanity, it is hard to see them as credible human examples. Peter and Paul are two passionate, human examples of Christian life.

As this is Father Rey’s final weekend with us before he retires, I have asked him to speak at each Mass. We are grateful for the past 5 years he has faithfully served our parish community. We wish him God’s blessings as he begins his retirement. Next weekend will be Father Dandu’s final weekend with us before he transfers to St. Mary Parish in Downers Grove. He will have an opportunity to say his farewells at each Mass next weekend.

Also next weekend, we will have the opportunity to participate in the annual “Peter’s Pence” appeal. This collection helps to fund the Holy Father’s personal efforts in caring for the needy and suffering of our world. Envelopes for this collection have been included in the pack mailed to your homes, or you may use a white pew envelope or donate online. As always, thank you for your generous response to this appeal.

As we end our fiscal year this weekend, I want to thank you for your regular and faithful support of our parish through your Sunday offerings. The Sunday collection is our primary source of income for our parish. Your generosity makes it possible for us to do all that we do here.

Happy summer season! May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.

– Father Jim Murphy