It is not very exciting to debate when the Church Year should begin or end. Maybe it doesn’t, especially since ending and beginning themes seem to sound alike and to flow into each other. But there is a Sunday when we come to the end of one year’s reading of a specific Gospel and turn our attention to another. That Sunday happens to be today as we celebrate the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Today we conclude our reading from the Gospel of Luke, which we began last Advent. Week after week we have been journeying through this Gospel and have heard it proclaimed in almost its entirety. Next week, on the First Sunday of Advent, we begin a new Church Year. We will change cycles in our Sunday Scripture readings and begin reading from the Gospel of Matthew for a year. Matthew’s picture of the person of Jesus will unfold before us.
This past Friday, a truck from the Northern Illinois Food Bank pulled into our parking lot loaded with 460 Thanksgiving dinner boxes which they had packaged. Our tithe of 5% of our Sunday collections over the weekends of October 2nd and October 9th provided these boxes. Each box contained a turkey and all the side trimmings for a family’s Thanksgiving dinner. 160 dinner boxes were taken to Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica parish in Chicago on Friday. Another 280 boxes were delivered to Bloomingdale Township for distribution. The remaining boxes stayed here for our neighborhood families in need and were picked up over the weekend. Thank you for your support in providing these Thanksgiving dinner boxes.
Throughout this year, we have been celebrating a Holy Year, the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. The Jubilee Year began on December 8, 2015 when Pope Francis formally opened the “Holy Door” of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It concludes today – the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. In his announcement of the Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis said that the year will be a time for animating “a new stage in the journey of the Church on its mission to bring to every person the Gospel of mercy.” The Holy Year provided us with several opportunities to experience the gift of God’s mercy. We had time to focus on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. We added additional times to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation throughout the year, especially on First Fridays following the 12:05pm daily Mass. Our Parish Mission last February led us in reflecting on the amazing, incredible and unbelievable gift of God’s forgiveness. We continue to hold the Corporal and the Spiritual Works of Mercy before us. The Holy Year was truly “A Time to Heal, to Help, to Forgive.”
This Thursday – Thanksgiving Day! A wonderful way to begin the day is by celebrating Eucharist with our parish family. We gather as a faith community to give thanks to our God for the many gifts with which we have been blessed. As is our custom on civil holidays, we will celebrate a single Mass on Thanksgiving morning at 9:00am in the church. Please join us.
With the season of Advent beginning next Sunday, we have Bishop Ken Untener’s “Little Blue Book” for the Advent and Christmas Seasons 2016-2017 available this weekend. These “Little Books” give us a wonderful guide in our personal, individual daily prayer throughout the major seasons of the Church Year. This year’s book for Advent and Christmas gives us six-minute daily reflections on the Infancy Narratives of Luke. The six-minute program begins next Sunday, November 27th, the First Sunday of Advent. These books – in both English and Spanish – are available in the Narthex.
This weekend we have the opportunity to participate in the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). We will tithe 5% of our collection this weekend to the CCHD. Funds collected through the CCHD support self-help projects for poor and low-income people working together to improve their lives and their communities. If you would like to make an additional contribution to the CCHD, please use the envelope included in your November packet or use one of the white envelopes from in the pew racks. Thank you for your generosity.
All through the month of November we have kept a prayerful remembrance of those who have gone before us in faith. Our parish Book of Remembrance at the front of the Church near the Baptistery and the Easter Candle reminds us of our commitment to pray for the dead. During this month of November, we continue our prayerful remembrance of those who now live with God. You are welcome to add additional names of your beloved dead in the Book of Remembrance during these final days of the month. May God welcome them into his glory.
Please note that our Parish Office will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and on Friday. Weekday Mass on Friday will be celebrated at 8.15am, our Saturday morning time.
We complete another Church Liturgical Year in fine form. As we celebrate the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe this weekend and Thanksgiving later this week, we thank God for all of the blessings that we have experienced this past year and look forward to what lies ahead. We pray that God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy