We continue our journey through Ordinary Time and Mark’s Gospel on this 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Following last week’s profession of faith by Peter (“Who do you say that I am?” “You are the Christ.”), and Jesus’ rebuking Peter’s misunderstanding of what being “the Christ” means, Jesus teaches in unmistakable terms that being “the Christ” or “the Messiah” leads to suffering and death. Jesus sees his mission as Messiah in the pattern of Isaiah’s suffering servant. The disciples again give ample evidence that they do not understand Jesus’ clear teaching. They fail to grasp not only his suffering, but his servanthood. Instead, they argue among themselves who is most important! Jesus continues to teach them – he places before them a child, a person with no status and no possessions. To follow Jesus the Messiah, the disciples must accept him in the poverty and lock of status of a servant – but the servant of God.
This weekend, we are very happy to welcome Father Michael Lane to our parish. He is a priest of our diocese and pastor of St. Jude’s parish in Joliet. He has a very deep devotion to the Eucharist and has established Adoration Chapels at Visitation parish in Elmhurst and St. Jude’s. He will be speaking at each of our English Masses and share his experiences of the blessings that come from personal prayer before the Eucharist. Father Matt will share his thoughts at our Spanish Masses. We had hoped that Father Michael could be with us sometime during the summer when our Gospel reading came from the Bread of Life discourse in John’s Gospel, but his schedule didn’t permit that. So we are very happy to have him with us this weekend. And in order for him to be here with us, I will be celebrating Masses at his parish in Joliet.
We have asked Father Michael to speak at our Masses for a number of reasons. One is in response to what we heard you, our parishioners, tell us in the parish Needs Assessment conducted in January 2013. Besides instructing us to re-locate our Connect Youth Ministries in existing parish buildings as opposed to finding a new rental site after our lease at The LINK expired, a significant number of your expressed the desire for us to provide an opportunity for Perpetual Adoration of the Eucharist at our parish. While they deeply appreciate their time spent in quiet, personal prayer in the presence of the Eucharist, many in our parish are not familiar with this traditional prayer form and the blessings that come from it. Too often we limit our personal prayer with the Lord to recitation of our words. We are good at doing a lot of talking! We don’t give God a chance to respond and when God does, we are already gone and about other things. We say our prayers, but fail to listen. Eucharistic Adoration, spending quiet time just being in the presence of the Lord, gives us time to listen as God speaks to us. We spend time in the presence of the Lord without bringing any agenda other than to just be with the Lord. And so another reason for inviting Father Michael here is to allow him to share with us the blessings he has experienced through personal prayer in the presence of the Lord. We are very happy that he is able to be with us this weekend.
Once we got into the month of September, attention focused on the count down to the 2015 Apostolic Journey of Pope Francis to the United States of America. The Pope will be visiting our country this week, stopping in Washington, DC, New York City and Philadelphia. The theme of his Apostolic Journey is “Love Is Our Mission.” He will arrive on Tuesday afternoon in Washington, DC, traveling from Cuba. On Wednesday morning, he will meet with President Obama at the White House. He will pray Midday Prayer with the Bishops of the United States at St. Matthew’s Cathedral and later celebrate a Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Father Serra was a Franciscan Friar who came from Spain as a missionary to the United States. He spent the rest of his life working among the natives along the Pacific Coast of California and founded many of the California Missions, extending from San Diego north to San Francisco. He is buried in the Mission San Carlos in Carmel, CA.
On Thursday, Pope Francis will address a Joint Meeting of the United States Congress. He will visit St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington before flying north to New York City. He will conclude that day praying Evening Prayer (Vespers) at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.
On Friday morning, the Pope will visit the United Nations and give an Address to the United Nations General Assembly. At midday he will attend a Multi-religious Service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center. He will then visit Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, make a procession through Central Park and conclude the day with Mass at Madison Square Garden. On Saturday he will fly to Philadelphia and celebrate Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. He will then visit Independence Mall and then make a visit to the Festival of Families Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
On Sunday morning, Pope Francis will meet with the Bishops of the United States at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. He will then visit the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility before celebrating Mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, Benjamin Franklin Parkway. He will conclude his Apostolic Journey to the United States with a visit with the organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families at Atlantic Aviation and then depart for Rome. He certainly has a full schedule. Additional details can be found at the US Bishops’ website, www.usccb.org as well as media broadcast information during his visit. This is a very exciting time for our country. We support Pope Francis with our prayers during his visit among us.
Much more is happening this week at our parish. Additional news can be found elsewhere in our bulletin. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy