August 20, 2023

Today, we celebrate the 20th Sunday in the season of the Ordinary Time of the Year, and we continue our chronological reading of St. Matthew’s gospel. We are given another healing story that takes place after a proclamation of great faith. The Canaanite woman, a foreigner, receives the healing of her daughter that she so urgently seeks. Her actions inspire us to come to a deeper faith.

“Christ’s cross, embraced with love, never leads to sadness, but to joy, to the joy of having been saved and of doing a little of what he did on the day of his death.”

Pope Francis

One of my favorite “call” stories in the Gospels is the call of the apostle, Peter. John’s Gospel (Chapter 1) tells us that Peter’s brother, Andrew, was originally a disciple of John the Baptist. After Jesus begins his public ministry, John the Baptist points his disciples in Jesus’ direction and they begin to follow Jesus. One of the first things that Andrew does after meeting Jesus is to go and get his brother, Peter. He wanted to share with his brother what he had experienced with Jesus. Andrew then brings Peter to meet the Lord. Peter begins his new life of faith with the invitation of his brother, Andrew.

It is amazing how this pattern is repeated in our own day. When I ask engaged couples how they met, many report that a mutual friend introduced them to each other. Someone else imagined some possibilities for them as a couple and then brought them together. God acted through the invitation. Or another example – when I interview potential seminarians for the Vocation Office, I ask when they first considered the priesthood. Many report that they did not even think of becoming a priest until someone else suggested the possibility to them. Someone else recognized priestly talent in them and asked if they ever thought of becoming a priest. That question was all that was needed to set the ball in motion. God acted again through the invitation given by another.

The same is often true when someone takes steps to become a Catholic. We can ask when they first considered becoming part of the church. Often it is the example of someone else in their life. They were encouraged by seeing someone else striving to faithfully live their faith through the normal ups and downs of life. Or someone else sensed they were searching for something deeper in life or for a church home and invited them to consider our faith. All it took was an invitation. Someone else was like Andrew inviting Peter to meet the Lord and the rest is history.

I share these thoughts with you as we are in the process of planning for another inquiry series this fall. Do you know someone who is searching for that something deeper in life that our faith can offer? Do you know someone who is looking for a church home where they are welcome and can belong? Do you know someone who may already be coming to Sunday Mass but has not taken any steps to become part of the Church? Or maybe someone who has a child in 2nd Grade who will be celebrating First Eucharist in the spring and is beginning to wonder about his or her own situation. Perhaps all that any of these people needs is an invitation to consider the Catholic faith. God can work through the invitation.

We hope to gather a new OCIA (Order of Christian Initiation of Adults) group soon. The initial sessions are basic, introductory meetings. Information will be available; questions will be welcomed; there are no costs or additional obligations. If you can be an “Andrew” in another’s life, please invite them to consider these meetings. If you would like us to extend the invitation, please call Leonor Carvajal at (630) 295-8351. Or if you would like additional information, please call Leonor. Someone may be waiting for an invitation that only you are able to provide.

Let us remember in prayer all those who are making end-of-summer trips and our college students returning to school. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.

– Father Jim Murphy