September 17, 2023

Today, we celebrate the 24th Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year. In our sequential reading of Matthew’s Gospel this year, we hear that Jesus’ teachings about life in a Christian community echo the statement from the Our Father, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Jesus gave us this prayer very early in Matthew’s Gospel – during the Sermon on the Mount. He taught us then that if we want to be forgiven, we must be willing to forgive each other. For Jesus, there is no situation in which we are justified in withholding forgiveness. He returns to this theme several chapters later in the parable of the unforgiving servant. Human nature being what it is, we can be very eager to accept God’s incredible and unbelievable gift of forgiveness and still be very stingy in our willingness to share the gift we have received with those who have hurt us. For one who is a disciple of Jesus, holding a grudge or seeking revenge is not an option. Even in situations where the other person has not asked for forgiveness, we are still obligated to forgive. Why? Because we have been forgiven. Since God has given us such a tremendous and undeserved gift in forgiving us, we are obliged to share that gift with others. Since being a disciple is a life-long call, we should be making our response to the Lord’s invitation better today than yesterday, and tomorrow better than today. As we grow in our awareness of being forgiven, our desire and willingness to forgive each other should also grow.

The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed in abundance so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity.

Pope Francis

It was a very moving sight last Sunday to see the first responders process into the church following the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard at the 10:00 am “Blue Mass.” Unfortunately, a multi-alarm structure fire in Glendale Heights prevented many of our local fire fighters and EMTs from joining with us. They responded to the call just as they always do. Both those who were with us and those responding to the alarm appreciated the prayers and thanks we offered for them and were especially grateful for the blessings we prayed over them at the end of the Mass. It was an emotional day for both our first responders and for us who honored them last Sunday. Thank you to our Father John Guiney Council of the Knights of Columbus for sponsoring our 9th Annual Blue Mass. Special thanks go to Bill Gorsline, who spearheaded this special event with the Knights. With last Monday’s 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country, it was something we needed to do! 

Today, we begin a new year in the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) process. This is a journey that will lead us to the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil next year on Saturday, March 30. 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? Perhaps all that this person needs is an invitation to consider the Catholic faith. Our series of inquiry meetings begins today at 11:00 am in the Fr. Guiney Room. It is not too late to join this group. There are no costs or additional obligations. If you know someone who may be searching, please invite them to our Sunday morning gatherings. If you would like additional information, please call Leonor Carvajal at (630) 529-3045.

Our Gospel stories tell us about Jesus’ regular practice of gathering his apostles and going off to an out-of-the-way place for prayer, reflection and rest. This week, all of the priests in our Diocese of Joliet will be following the Lord’s example and gathering with our Bishop at the Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook for our bi-annual convocation. All of us will be away from Monday evening through Thursday afternoon. Our first Joliet Diocesan Convocation of Priests took place in the early 1980’s. It was a very powerful experience for all of us to come together with our Bishops and spend time in prayer, brotherhood, conferences, conversation and sharing. Our current practice is to do this every two years. Our focus for this year’s convocation is “Creating a Eucharistic Legacy in the Priesthood.” Our convocation speaker will be Sister Miriam Heidland, SOLT. We will also take time to honor the priests celebrating significant anniversaries this year. Please keep us in prayer while we are away, as we will be sure to remember you. There will not be any daily Masses celebrated while we are away, but our Deacons will provide a Communion service at 7:00 am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Our regular schedule of weekday Masses will resume on Friday morning.

We welcome the season of autumn this Saturday, September 23 at 1:50 am. A completely new season of the year is opening before us. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.

– Father Jim Murphy