Today we celebrate the 16th Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year. During this year, our Sunday Gospel readings have been primarily coming from the Gospel of Mark. One of the unique aspects of Mark’s Gospel is its length. Mark is the shortest of the four Gospels, and probably the first one that was written. It is brief and to the point. This weekend we pick up where we left off last Sunday when we saw Jesus sending the disciples out on a mission to announce the Kingdom of God. Today we see them return to report their missionary activity to Jesus. And we see how Jesus responds when his plans are interrupted and things do not turn out as he expected. Next Sunday we will begin a five week break from our reading of Mark’s Gospel as we begin hearing the great Bread of Life discourse (Chapter 6) from John’s Gospel. We return to Mark’s Gospel on August 30th. Some great things are coming!
There have been a number of events over the past few weeks which have reminded me of the “marvelous” ways in which God actively works in our daily lives. I’d like to share some of these reflections with you this weekend.
Often we expect God to act in our world and in our lives in “God-like” ways. Usually “God-like” means spectacular, extraordinary or miraculous events. If that be the case, then most of us are left out, as the extraordinary or miraculous events are the exception, not the rule. My experience has been that God’s activity is not limited to those exceptional moments. God is much closer to us and often works in our lives in “marvelous” ways, and especially through the marvel of “timing.”
Have you ever found yourself in just the right place and just the right time? Some would attribute this to luck or coincidence. But for those who believe, we recognize God’s hand guiding us through his timing. It could be something as significant as being available when the right person came into our lives and a wonderful marriage grew out of that meeting. Or the right job opened up at just the right time. We knew without a doubt that we were where God wanted us to be. Or we stopped to speak with someone and the conversation shifted to a much deeper topic. Something significant that we did not plan or control took place because the time was right. Instances are all around us – bumping into someone at the store, being home when an unexpected call came in, or making an unplanned stop somewhere.
God guides us every moment of the day through the timing of the events that take place. And most of the time, the events look like a chance happening. But looking back, we can see that we were blessed by being in the right place at the right time. As I said above, I have experienced a number of these in the past few weeks. Perhaps the altered pace of summer gave me the opportunity to notice and recognize those moments. I suspect that the same is true for you. God is very active in our lives – not so much in the miraculous but in the marvelous.
It is not too early to look toward our next parish Kairos Retreat for juniors and seniors in High School. St. Isidore Kairos 12 will be held over the Labor Day weekend, September 4th through 7th. We have already begun our weekly Formation Meetings with our student leaders on Thursday evenings. Normally, the Kairos Retreat is only available through our Catholic High Schools and limited to their students. Offering Kairos at our parish makes this retreat available to each of our students in our various public high schools. All of our High School students now have the opportunity to experience Kairos and to grow in their faith through this wonderful experience.
Parents – encourage your junior and senior year students to attend this retreat. Do whatever it takes to get them there. Some past participants came into the retreat kicking and screaming! That’s OK! Something happened during the retreat that changed everything for them. Many of our past participants report that this is an experience that can change your life.
High School upper classmen – don’t miss this opportunity. We offer this retreat only twice during the year – Labor Day weekend and Presidents’ Day weekend in February. If your schedules are open for our next retreat, take the risk to experience something that can make a difference in the rest of your life. I truly believe in this retreat and will be present at the retreat for as much of it as I am able, returning to the parish only for a wedding on Saturday afternoon and the early Sunday Masses. Retreat applications are available at the Hospitality Desk in the Church Narthex and in the Faith Formation office. Questions may be directed to either me or David Heimann.
Summer projects continue this week. Some refurbishing work is being done on the main floor level of the parish office – painting, new flooring and carpets. Work began over a week ago and is scheduled to be completed this Wednesday. Our staff will move back into their offices on Thursday. Currently signs are directing people to the school office where our main staff has been working. Hopefully the interruptions will continue to be minimal. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this causes. We chose this time of year as things do slow down a bit this month.
We missed taking up the 2nd collection for the tornado victims in Coal City at some of our Masses last weekend. If you didn’t have a chance to respond, and would like to contribute, please use one of the white envelopes in the pews and mark it “Coal City.” Thank you for your generosity.
The extra space around us at weekend Mass reminds us that many are away on vacation. We remember in our prayer all those who are traveling. And we thank God for the good weather we experienced this past week. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy