After celebrating last week’s Solemnities of All Saints and All Souls, we now celebrate the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time and near the end of our reading of Luke’s Gospel. Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem. He spends his final days teaching in the Temple. In the midst of his teaching, the Pharisees and Sadducees attempt to trap him in his speech and divide the crowds against him. While the Sadducees did not believe in an after-life, they set a trap based on the Law of Moses which they hope will undermine belief in a resurrection. Jesus cuts through their hypocrisy and teaches that those found worthy of the resurrection will not defined or bound by such labels as “single” or “married.” Resurrected life will transcend our limitations. Death will be no more and we will be simply “children of God.” He concludes with a declaration that the Lord is “not God of the dead, but of the living.” He proclaimed that truth all through his life and teachings, but most of all through his own Resurrection from the dead. We are now focusing our attention on the things that really matter.
Each autumn we conduct our annual “Stewardship as a Way of Life” renewal process and hold our annual Stewardship commitment weekend. As a response to the example of Zacchaeus in last weekend’s Gospel, we are holding our commitment weekend this weekend. Given that living a life of Christian Stewardship is a life-long process, we held “Next Step Weekend” last weekend and make our renewal (or commitment) this weekend. Like last year, we are committing to all three aspects of Stewardship – Time, Talent and Treasure – on the same weekend. Our recommitment materials were mailed to arrive in each parishioner’s home last week.
For myself, any consideration of embracing “Stewardship as a Way of Life” needs to begin with the humble recognition that everything we have is God’s gift to us. Everything is a gift. All that we have and are is a gift from God who loves us more than we can ever understand. We can receive God’s gifts with open hands and say ‘thank you,” or with closed fists and claim God’s gifts as “mine!” Either response, God’s gifts continue to flow. If we receive them with open, grateful hands, God’s gifts can flow through us and bless those around us. Or we can receive God’s gifts with clenched fists and closed hands. Make that latter choice and God’s gift giving hits a blockage! We may have had a time in our lives when a part of our bodies got blocked with a foreign object. That could have led to a major discomfort or something worse, like a stroke or heart attack! Our call is to gratefully receive God’s gifts with open hands, let them bless us and then flow through us to bless others. We may have been born with clenched fists shouting, “Mine!” But our call is to become grateful stewards of everything we receive and to share them. Today we have an opportunity to take the next step in living our lives as grateful stewards and recommit ourselves to sharing!
Ninety–eight years ago, at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month the guns fell silent. The violence of “the Great War” – now known as World War I – came to an end on November 11, 1918. We mark that anniversary through our annual observance of Veteran’s Day. We remember not only the veterans of World War I but all veterans who gave their all so that we can enjoy the freedoms that are the hallmark of our country.
Congratulations to our parishioners Dan Defino & Terry Neary. They are candidates for the permanent diaconate in our diocese. On Friday evening, October 28th, they and their classmates received the ministry of Lector at a Mass celebrated by Bishop Joseph Siegel at St. Isaac Jogues parish in Hinsdale. We are very happy that they took this next step in their formation and promise them the support of our prayers.
Also, congratulations to parishioner Tommy Mitchell of Boy Scout Troop 351 who received his Eagle Scout award at a Court of Honor held last Saturday in the Chapel Lower Level. For his Eagle Project, Tommy built the four benches that are now in the center of our Columbarium near the cemetery. He also refinished the bench that is at the Our Lady of Lourdes shrine at the northwest corner of the Ministry Center. Tommy is now one of 2% of all boys who begin Scouting and reach this top honor of Eagle Scout. Congratulations to him, his family and Troop 351.
This Tuesday is our National Election Day 2016. Even though many of us have been discouraged by the long and negative campaigns we have seen this year, we still have our civic duty to vote. We are strongly encouraged to fully participate in the Democratic process in our country. If you haven’t already cast your ballot in the early voting of the past few weeks, I strongly encourage all eligible voters to participate responsibly in this election. For our part, we continue our prayers for the voters in the United States, for the candidates for office in the United States, for the media in America, and that the purposes of God be accomplished in the U.S. elections.
On November 19-20 we will participate in the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Since 1970, CCHD has been our church’s compassionate and effective response to the needs of low-income people in our own diocese and throughout the country. CCHD funds more than 300 projects each year, helping people to work within their own communities to create jobs, provide affordable housing, ensure decent wages and organize for change. CCHD is a practical way for us to respond to Pope Paul VI’s exhortation, “If you want peace, work for justice.” 5% of our Offertory collection that weekend will be sent to this annual campaign. If you would like to make an additional contribution to this cause, please use the envelopes have been included in the packet mailed to each home or the white envelopes in the pew racks.
As we mark the seasonal time change to Central Standard Time on Sunday morning, the beauty of autumn is quickly fading as the leaves drop from the trees. The earth is preparing for the death of winter. Our Scripture readings turn our focus upon the end times and our ultimate destiny with God. It is time to focus on the truly important things. May we do so as best as we can. As always, may God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy