As we celebrate the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, we move into the final stretch of this Church Year. After one more Sunday, we will conclude the year with the Feast of Christ the King. For the present, Jesus offers us a parable that invites us to be prepared and watchful for the return of the Bridegroom. The parable is loaded with many symbolic images: light, delay, waiting, drowsiness and sleep, a midnight arrival, wedding feast, some admitted and some not. All of these images turn our attention to the Second Coming of Christ. We rarely, if ever, view our daily Christian living in light of the final coming of Christ. Yet that return is the source of our ongoing hope. If we are not ready at the Second Coming of Christ, we can’t count on anyone else to cover for us. We are provided now with all that we need to be ready when Christ comes. Since we don’t know when Christ will come again, we need to live each day as if that return would take place tonight. The best way to prepare is to live today as if this were the day when our Bridegroom will come and invite us to the feast.

“Remember if death is not to have the last word, it is because in life we learned to die for one another.”

Pope Francis

One of the traditional aspects of the month of November is our prayerful remembrance of those who have gone before us in faith. We celebrated our annual Parish Memorial Mass on All Souls Day, November 2. There we remembered by name those of our parish who died this past year and included all those entered in our Books of Remembrance. We also included all those buried in our cemetery and those in our columbarium. The Scripture readings for that day reminded us that we are still connected with those who have gone before us. It is as if we are still in the same room, with a curtain separating us one side from the other. Our parish Book of Remembrance is now at the front of the Church near the Easter Candle at the Baptistery. If you were not able to add the names of your beloved dead into the book for our All Souls Day Masses, please feel free to add these names to our Book of Remembrance. Veterans Day this weekend also invites us to remember. We continue to remember all of our beloved dead in prayer during this month of November.

Shortly before the COVID pandemic, our diocese established an endowment fund to assist with the education of our seminarians. The “I Will Give You Shepherds” campaign was established to help fund the Seminarian Endowment. Interest from the fund is used to assist with the $50,000 cost to educate each seminarian in each year of formation. Bishop Hicks has asked us to take up a second collection this weekend to continue funding the Trust. Special envelopes have been included in the packets mailed to our homes. You may also use the white pew rack envelopes – just indicate “Shepherds” on them. Donation information is also available on our parish website. Please join me in responding to this special collection to help fund the Joliet Seminarian Endowment Trust. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Looking ahead, our autumn Mass of the Anointing of the Sick will be held next Saturday, November 18 at 11:00 am in the church. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be offered to those who desire to receive it. We will have all three priests available to celebrate the Sacrament following the homily. Anyone who is struggling with a physical, mental or spiritual illness may request to be anointed. Please extend the invitation to those who may be homebound and in need of the Sacrament of the Sick.

Next weekend we will participate in the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Since 1970, CCHD has been our church’s compassionate and effective response to the needs of low-income people in our own diocese and throughout the country. If you are able to make an additional contribution to this cause, please use the envelopes that were included in the packets mailed to our homes or the white envelopes in the pew racks.

This is the last full week before we celebrate Thanksgiving. A lot is happening in our parish as we quickly move toward the holiday season. Please take time to read the rest of the bulletin so that you are aware of the many different things happening at our parish. As always, may God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.

– Father Jim Murphy