January 14, 2024
I am sure that all of us could tell, from the moment we walked into the Church today, that we are now in a new season of our Church Liturgical Year. As is the case in our homes, gone are the decorations of Christmas. While the holidays were a wonderful celebration and a welcome break from our regular routines, we have returned to the ordinary, everyday rhythms of our lives. This new season of the Church Year is simply called “Ordinary Time.” We entered this new season last Tuesday, following the final feast of the Christmas Season – Monday’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord. We will be in the first part of this “green season” until Ash Wednesday on February 14. While our Gospel reading this weekend comes from John’s Gospel, the majority of our Sunday Gospel readings for the year will come from the continuous reading of Mark’s Gospel. The faith challenge now before us is to recognize and respond to the Lord’s presence in the ordinary and everyday moments of our lives.
“Here is Jesus’ invitation: God has come close to you; recognize his presence, make room for his Word, and you will change your outlook on life.”Pope Francis
Thank you to Zaira Defino and all of our Art & Environment volunteers, who joined together in the church last week to transform our prayer space from Christmas to Ordinary Time. Their dedicated work over the past few months made a major difference in each of the Masses and prayer services we held during these special seasons. We appreciate your generous service.
The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins this Thursday, January 18, and concludes the following Thursday, January 25 on the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle. Since 1968, we have joined with other Christians throughout the world in praying as the Lord prayed, “that all may be one” (John 17:21). This year’s theme for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is inspired by the Gospel of Luke, “You shall love the Lord your God … and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). I suppose it is human nature to focus our attention on what divides us rather than on what we share in common. Our parish has been invited to join with several of the area churches for an ecumenical prayer service on next Sunday, January 21 at 7:00 pm, hosted by New Jerusalem House of Prayer and Wheaton Christian Center at 610 E. North Avenue in Carol Stream. All are welcome. Fellowship will follow. This annual week of prayer gives us the opportunity to recognize that there is more that unites us rather than divides us. In addition to Sunday evening’s prayer service, we will keep the cause of Christian unity before us in our community prayer. And let us all, each in our own way, beseech the Lord to restore unity to the church.
Please note that our Parish Offices will be closed on Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. We will reopen at 9:00 am on Tuesday, January 16. Weekday Masses on Monday will be celebrated at our usual times.
We are roughly halfway through the month of January. This mid-month milestone is cause for rejoicing. Take care and keep healthy during the winter and the flu season. God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
– Father Jim Murphy