Now that our observance of Lent and celebrations of the Easter season are concluded, and we have celebrated the major Solemnities of Trinity Sunday and the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, we now return to the cycle of Sundays in Ordinary Time – “the green Sundays.” We re-enter this season at the 12th week where we left the season at the beginning of Lent. We will continue reading from Matthew’s Gospel, section by section, until we begin the season of Advent on December 3rd. Ordinary Time reminds us that we are called to steady and regular growth as we celebrate the ordinary events of Jesus’ life. It is good to be back in this regular cycle of our Church Year.
As we said thank you and good-bye to Father Matt last weekend and wished him well as he began his new assignment as pastor of St. Alexis parish in Bensenville, we have the opportunity this weekend to welcome our new Parochial Vicar, Father Juan Jose Hernandez. His appointment to our parish was effective last Wednesday, June 21st. Father Juan Jose has previously served as Parochial Vicar at St. Mary’s church in West Chicago. I have asked him to introduce himself at each of our Masses this weekend. Please join me in giving him a St. Isidore Welcome as he begins his ministry among us.
Thank you to Father Clive and all who worked with him in coordinating last Sunday’s outdoor Corpus Christi Eucharistic procession from the church to the chapel. We were able to stop at a few key stations along the route – cemetery, school and parish office, and pray for the various needs of our parish before concluding with Benediction in the Chapel. It was a great way to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. As this was the third year we have held this procession, it has now become a regular practice for this Feast at our parish. Thank you again to all who made this possible and to all who participated.
It doesn’t seem possible that today is the final Sunday of June. The month is passing way too quickly. Before we begin the month of July, we have a major feast on our church calendar this week. Thursday, June 29th is the feast of Sts. Peter & Paul. Peter was one of the original twelve apostles and along with James and John, was with Jesus at each of the most significant moments in his ministry. Paul, originally a Pharisee known as Saul, was called by the Lord to be the apostle to the Gentiles. Originally, an adamant persecutor of the church, Paul led the early missionary efforts of the church beyond the borders of Israel into Asia, Europe and ultimately Rome. These two apostles are among the “giants” of the early church.
We look to the saints as role models and examples of encouragement in our own efforts to be disciples of the Lord. A common practice, though, is to elevate them to such a degree that we can no longer identify with them as human people. We remember their greatness and their successes and forget about their human struggles. Fortunately with Peter and Paul, their human side is clearly recorded for us in the Scriptures.
We are told that Peter had a tempter and was a “hot-head.” He also gave in to his fears when he denied knowing the Lord following Jesus’ arrest on Holy Thursday. The good news is that Peter recovered and spent the rest of his life professing his faith in the risen Lord.
As a Pharisee, Paul was stubborn, rigid and resisted change of any kind. He believed that he knew all that there was to know about God and could not imagine God acting any different from his expectations. He channeled all of his energy into destroying the new Christian movement. His efforts were so intense that God had to literally knock him off of his horse in order to get his attention. Following his conversion, Paul channeled that same energy into proclaiming his newfound faith throughout the known world. Both of these apostles became martyrs in Rome.
It is important for us to remember the struggles and the failures of our saints. We look to them as examples of Christian living as we follow the same path. When we rob them of their humanity, it is hard to see them as credible human examples. Peter and Paul are two passionate, human examples of Christian life.
This weekend we have the opportunity to participate in the annual “Peter’s Pence” appeal. This collection helps to fund the Holy Father’s personal efforts at caring for the needy and suffering of our world. In response to this appeal, we will tithe 5% of this weekend’s collection to the Peter’s Pence collection. Please adjust your weekly contribution accordingly. Anyone who wishes to contribute more than 5% to this appeal is welcome to use the envelope included in pack received in the mail, or use one the white envelopes in the pew racks.
As we end our fiscal year on Friday, I want to thank you for your regular and faithful support of our parish through your Sunday offerings. The Sunday collection is our primary source of income for our parish. Your generosity makes it possible for us to do all that we do here at St. Isidore.
Enjoy the blessing of summer. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy