As we gather on this first Sunday of October, we celebrate the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time and the beginning of Respect Life month. As we continue our sequential reading of Luke’s Gospel, we reach a turning point in this Gospel. Jesus taught both by his lived example and through his stories. The disciples have just heard two very challenging stories – the account of the dishonest steward and the story of the rich man and Lazarus. We heard these stories over the past two Sundays. They knew in their hearts that Jesus spoke the truth, no matter how challenging. And so they respond by asking Jesus to increase their faith! Their request for increased faith could only come from those already with substantial faith. Jesus’ closing example illustrates how faith expresses itself. Faith changes us into servants who do what is necessary – love, give witness, repent, forgive – no matter how hard the task.
We are very happy to welcome Bishop Daniel Conlon to our parish this weekend. He is making a pastoral visit and has been with us since Friday morning. Shortly after the Bishop was installed as our fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Joliet, he announced that he would be visiting and celebrating a Mass at each parish within the Diocese. That practice later evolved from a few hours visit into a prolonged visit of a full weekend. Over the past few years the Bishop has been spending an entire weekend at various parishes throughout the Diocese. While at each parish, he celebrates a few of the weekend Masses and speaks at each of the other Masses. He attends as many of the activities taking place as well as meeting with both parish and community leaders. Last spring we learned that he would be with us this weekend for his pastoral visit to St. Isidore.
As Bishop Conlon arrived on Friday morning, he celebrated the weekly Grade School Mass and visited each classroom. He met with our parish staff and had dinner with the Parish Pastoral Council and the Stewardship Council. On Saturday he joined with us as a confessor during the Sacrament of Reconciliation time, participated in a special Religious Education activity, had lunch with Village Officials and some local business owners and visited a nursing home and some homebound parishioners. He will be the presider at the Saturday 5:00pm Mass, and the Sunday 8:30am and 1:00pm Masses. He will speak briefly at each of the remaining weekend Masses. There are a few additional stops and events on his rather full schedule. Please be sure to extend a St. Isidore welcome to Bishop Conlon when you see him. We are very happy to have him with us.
Forty-four years ago the Catholic bishops in the United States designated October as Respect Life Month. Throughout October, Catholics are called in a special way to reflect on the gift of human life, the threats against it and how we can protect all persons from conception through natural death. This year’s theme is “Moved By Mercy.” It was inspired by Pope Francis’ reflection, “We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us.” Throughout this year, we have been celebrating a Holy Year, the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. The Holy Year provides us with several opportunities to experience the amazing, incredible and unbelievable gift of God’s mercy. Our experiences of God’s mercy can guide us in expressing our beliefs in respecting the sanctity of human life.
Our culture does not believe that human life is worth living and is sacred from the moment of conception through natural death. So many events have become commonplace – senseless shootings in our major cities, innocent life taken by terrorists, killings based on ethnic and religious differences, executions sanctioned by the state, abortion facilities open in our backyard with approximately 58,586,300 abortions done in our country during the 43 years since the Roe v. Wade decision. We can make a start by making the personal choice to uphold and really witness to the sanctity and dignity of every human life – from conception through natural death. We offer our prayers throughout this Respect Life month that our Catholic Christian values promoting a culture of life continue to influence everything that we do in our society and throughout the world.
We have the first Friday of October this Friday, October 7th, and will have our monthly day of Eucharistic adoration. The Eucharist will be exposed in the church immediately following the 7:00am Mass on Friday until 8:00am on Saturday (except during the 12:05pm Mass on Friday). Stop in any time day or night for individual, quiet prayer with the Lord. You’ll be amazed at the difference this prayer can make in your life! And during this Holy Year, the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, we have an additional time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Friday from 12:35 to 1:30pm.
Cooler temperatures are coming our way as the autumn season settles upon us. Let’s make it a point to notice the beauty of this season – it is the Lord’s gift to us in this present moment. As always, we pray that God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy