As we celebrate the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time this weekend, we continue our reading of the Gospel of St. Matthew in our Sunday Gospel readings. Week by week, we have been seeing Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus’ ministry unfold before us. Last week we began Jesus’ discourse of parables and heard the parable of the Sower and the Seed. This week we hear three more parables describing the Kingdom of Heaven. Since the Kingdom of Heaven is a mystery so multi-faceted that there is always more to understand, Jesus presents three parables that offer sketches of God’s Kingdom. The parables do not give a definition, but present images or pictures that are windows into the mystery of the Kingdom. Three parables – the field with wheat and weeds, the mustard seed, and yeast – invite us to consider different dimensions of the Kingdom.
Thank you for the welcome home you extended to Robert Delfin as he spoke at the beginning of each Mass last weekend and shared with us his ministry as a campus missionary with FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. This is an organization that sends missionaries to work with college students to grow in their relationship with the Lord during their college studies. He has worked over the past two years at a university in Florida, and will return there for the 2017-2018 school year. As we announced at each Mass, 5% of last weekend’s collection was tithed to FOCUS to support Robert’s work — $1,788. Thank you.
One of the blessings of our church liturgical calendar is that we celebrate the feasts of many of our great saints during the summer. The saints are those heroes of our faith whom we look up to and imitate, who refused to let their lives or personalities be stunted by the circumstances of the world around them. This week we celebrate a number of feasts of major saints – St. James the Apostle (Tuesday), Sts. Joachim and Anne (Wednesday), and St. Martha (Saturday).
St. James, brother of John, is called “the Greater” because he followed Christ before the other apostle of the same name. He was the first of the Twelve to be martyred, being decapitated by order of Herod Agrippa I, around 44AD. Tradition has it that his remains are buried in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. The popular Christian pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago, or the “Way of St. James,” follows many different routes throughout northern Europe ending at the Cathedral bearing his name. He is the patron of pilgrims, of Spain, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Sts. Joachim and Anne are the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the grandparents of Jesus. While they are not named in any of the Gospels, their names are found in the Protoevangelium of James, a document dating back to the 2nd century. Their feast gives us a good opportunity to prayerfully remember our own grandparents and the influence they have had in our lives. St. Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus, close friends of Jesus, and a model of hospitality and a faithful disciple. When her brother Lazarus died, she confessed her faith in Jesus as the Son of God. Martha is the patroness of housewives, waiters and waitresses.
Summer projects continue this week. The slower pace of July provides a good time to attend to some projects around the parish. The major projects this summer are replacing the boiler in the Chapel (also heats the school) and the furnace and A/C unit in the Parish Office. Additional preventive maintenance and school projects are on the To Do list. This summer’s projects are not as visible as in past summers when we replaced the lights in the parking lot or resurfaced the lots. But these behind the scenes projects are just as important as the ones which draw a huge notice.
Thank you to all who have pledged to the 2017 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. Our pledges support the work of the diocese, our larger church. Our parish goal for this year’s appeal is $173,968. Thank you to the 1,008 households who have already paid $128,217 towards our parish goal. Your generosity is deeply appreciated. If you haven’t had a chance to respond to the 2017 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal, please do so as soon as possible. Every pledge of any amount moves us closer to reaching our parish goal and our obligations to the larger diocesan church. We have additional commitment envelopes at the Parish Office and the Hospitality Desk in the Church.
The “Back to School” advertising circulars are already included in our Sunday newspapers. Many of our college students will be leaving us in just a few short weeks. Let’s enjoy the time that we have. And we remember in prayer all those who are traveling. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy