June 16, 2024

Happy Father’s Day to all our dads, grandpas, Godfathers, and all those who are like a father to us. We celebrate and thank you for all the marvelous ways you reveal God’s love to us. We ask God’s blessing upon you today and particularly remember those of our fathers who have gone ahead of us in faith and now live with the Lord.

“A good father knows how to wait and knows how to forgive from the depths of his heart…The father who knows how to correct without humiliating is the one who knows how to protect without sparing himself.”

Pope Francis

We also remember those who do not look forward to today’s celebration. For some of us, our fathers are no longer with us and there is still a hole in our hearts. Others have had hurtful or abusive relationships with their fathers. Still others among us struggle with the painful experience of infertility. Couples in these situations spend this day grieving in the shadows. Besides honoring our fathers on this day, we prayerfully remember those who are grieving the absence of a father or the opportunity to be a father.

Today, we also celebrate the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time and continue our continuous reading of Mark’s Gospel. In order to better understand the message of Mark’s Gospel, it is important to recall that Mark’s original audience was a community of persecuted Christians who needed hope. Heard in this light, today’s Gospel reading offers them encouragement in their work of building up the kingdom of God. The parables of the scattered seed and the mustard seed describe the kingdom of God and point out the contrast between small beginnings and the final result. God is clearly at work here, and that gives us hope.

For us, as Catholic Christians, our beliefs in the Eucharist are at the very center of our faith. We hold fast to the beliefs Jesus gave us from the beginning. For close to 2000 years now, we have recognized his presence in the Eucharist and responded to his desire to be with us. During the summer of 2019, we were blessed to add our Perpetual Adoration Chapel to the north end of the church, dedicating it on November 2, 2019. This space gives us the opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration around the clock, 24/7. The chapel door works on a timed lock and is open from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm daily. Key cards are available at the office for after-hours visitors. All are welcome to come and go as they are able. You can stay for as long or as little as you would like. It is a wonderful time to simply be in the presence of the Lord, to share our thoughts and cares with him, and then to be quiet in his presence. If you have never tried this form of prayer before, the opportunity is here – try it and experience the peace and calm that can come from spending some quiet time with the Lord.

Three years ago, Bishop Hicks asked us to implement a “Father’s Day Special Collection for Diocesan Priests’ Care & Support.” This is a special collection to care for our infirm and retired priests. The Fund for Diocesan Infirm and Elderly Priests is a unique way for us to express our concern for the welfare of those who have dedicated their lives in service to our pastoral care. The money in this fund supports priests who need help with extraordinary medical expenses or who suffer a catastrophic illness. It also provides for the care of the St. John Vianney Villa in Naperville, home to several retired priests in the Diocese of Joliet. Envelopes for this collection have been included in the May-June packets mailed to our homes. Or you may use one of the white pew envelopes and mark it “Retired Priests.” Online contributions are also welcome using the Giving link on the parish website. Thank you for your generosity in responding to this appeal for our diocesan priests.

While Memorial Day traditionally signals the beginning of summer, the official beginning of summer will take place this Thursday, June 20, at 3:50 pm Central. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year. Remember back to the winter when it was dark at 4:30 pm?  It is time to savor God’s gift of light and the gift of the summer. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.

– Father Jim Murphy