September 3, 2023

On this first weekend in September, the Labor Day holiday weekend, we celebrate the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. We continue our chronological reading of St. Matthew’s gospel. Today’s reading is the second half of the reading we heard last week – Peter’s profession of faith. We see a very interesting turn of events. Last week, Jesus praised Peter for speaking up – “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” This week, Jesus explains to the disciples what his understanding of being the Messiah (or “the Christ”) means. When Jesus speaks of his coming suffering and death, Peter takes him aside and advises, “No such thing shall ever happen to you.” Jesus rebukes him for his lack of understanding. Peter had no idea what his earlier profession of faith meant. He was seeing things through his eyes, and not God’s. We are challenged to make sure our expectations of the way things should be match God’s expectations. If they do not line up, it is our responsibility to make the adjustment.

Life is a journey, along different roads, different paths, which leave their mark on us. We know in faith that Jesus seeks us out. He wants to heal our wounds, to soothe our feet which hurt from traveling alone, to wash each of us clean of the dust from our journey.

Pope Francis

Labor Day is filled with many different memories and meanings. For many of us, it signals the end of summer and all that is associated with summer. It is the time for the last fling outdoors. It is a time for a BBQ with family and friends. It is the weekend the summer home is closed and the boat is placed in storage. It is the time for moving from one season of the year to another. The holiday itself, “Labor Day,” gives many of us a chance to take a day off from work and reflect on the meaning of our labor.

This weekend, we pause to thank God for the ways in which we participate in the act of creation through significant and fruitful work. We also pray for those who are looking for work. As is our custom on civil holidays, we will celebrate a single Mass on Monday at 9:00 am in the Church. Our parish offices and school will be closed in observance of the Labor Day holiday.

Next Sunday, our Knights of Columbus will host the annual “Blue Mass” at our 10:00 am Mass. Local police, firefighters, EMT’s, Sheriff’s deputies and rescue workers are all invited to attend and will have a reserved place during the Mass. The “Blue Mass” takes its name from the blue uniforms worn by police, fire and emergency services personnel. As we anticipate the 9/11 anniversary, it is very appropriate that we honor our local first responder heroes. Local police and fire departments have been invited. All first responders of the parish serving in the larger area are most welcome to attend. Following the Mass, in the Ministry Center there will be refreshments and a meet-and-greet for families to come and thank our first responders. Please RSVP if you would like to attend.

The story is told of an elderly man being admitted to the local hospital for a medical procedure. As a part of the admission process, the clerk asked him if he had a religious preference. He replied, “I had always wanted to be a Catholic, but no one ever asked me before. You are the first.” 

Many of the adults who enter the Church through the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) do so because someone else invited them to consider the Catholic faith. 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 welcomed and can belong? Do you know someone who may be coming to Mass already but has not taken any steps to become part of the Church? Perhaps all that this person needs is an invitation to consider the Catholic faith. We will be hosting a new OCIA group very soon. There are no costs or additional obligations. For additional information, please contact Leonor Carvajal at (630) 529-3045.

Enjoy the holiday weekend. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.

– Father Jim Murphy