A word from Pope Francis ~ “The abandonment and sufferings of the Servant of the Lord, even unto death, prove so fruitful that they bring redemption and salvation to many.”
This weekend, as we celebrate the 29th Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year, our Gospel reading gives us an embarrassing moment for the sons of Zebedee – James and John. They approach Jesus on the side and ask him for the highest places of glory in his kingdom. In today’s account from Mark’s Gospel, the brothers approach Jesus themselves while in a similar account in Matthew and Luke, their mother intercedes on their behalf. Either way, it is an embarrassing moment as their personal ambitions are made known. The reaction among “the ten” of anger and resentment is fully understandable. Jesus takes the moment to explain where true greatness is found – taking the place of the servant and freely giving everything as needed. He came to serve and give.
“Stewardship Renewal Weekend 2018.” Last weekend we held our annual Stewardship Renewal weekend. We gathered together at each of our weekend Masses and with gratitude for all of the many gifts God pours over us each day, we took the next step and offered a portion of our time, talent and treasure in our Stewardship Renewal Weekend 2018 responses. Thank you to all who made a commitment to share their time, talent and treasure as a grateful return to the Lord for all of his blessings to us.
If you were away or unable to complete your commitment last weekend, additional commitment materials are available at the Hospitality Desk in the Church. Or use the commitment form that was a part of the mailing you received. Please complete them as soon as possible and return them either in the regular collection or to the Parish Office. Again, thank you for your efforts to respond to the Lord’s call to be faithful stewards.
Another way of being a faithful steward that we can all share in is through our time spent in prayer. Requests for our prayers are all around us, beginning with our parish Book of Prayer. The parish Grade School, Faith Formation K-6 communities and our Connect Youth Ministries each have a prayer box for the prayer intention slips of our students. We have our lists for our sick and recently deceased printed in the bulletin as well as prayer lists for Couples Preparing for Marriage, Expecting Parents and those serving in the military. Taking time to pray for any of those who are on these lists is a powerful way of returning to the Lord a portion of the time he has given us through our prayer. The opportunities are all around us!
We continue our observance of Respect Life Month during this month of October. Several years ago our bishops designated October as Respect Life Month. Throughout this month, we 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. We have several opportunities in our parish to put our Respect Life values into practice. Because we are a people who respect life, we support the Knights of Columbus “Baby Bottles for Life” project. If you still have a baby bottle, please bring it back next weekend. Because we are a people who respect life, we pray for our expecting couples on our “Expecting Couple’s Prayer List.” Because we are a people who respect Life, we offer a Mass every Tuesday at either Lexington or West Suburban Nursing homes. Because we are a people who respect Life, we send our Eucharistic Ministers to the nursing homes after 8:30am Mass on Sundays. Because we are a people who respect Life, we close the Ministry Center to parish meetings and events every Monday evening and offer the local homeless three meals and a place to sleep through PADS. Because we are a people who respect Life, we support our local food pantries through Neighborhood Food Pantries. We respect human life from conception through natural death through our prayers and in our actions.
Today is World Mission Sunday. We have the opportunity to participate in the annual World Mission Sunday appeal. This is one of twelve special appeals in our Diocese over the course of the year. Funds donated through this appeal support the work of missioners throughout the world. It is an excellent opportunity for us to support the needs of the larger church beyond our own parish and Diocese. We will tithe 5% of today’s collection to this appeal. If you would like to support this appeal, please add the additional amount to your regular offering. As always, thank you for your generous support.
The Feast of All Soul’s (November 2nd) falls on the first Friday of November this year and will be celebrated in less than two weeks. Our parish Memorial Book of the Dead is now available in both the Church and the Chapel. You are invited to add the names of your personal beloved dead. They will be remembered on All Soul’s Day, especially at our Parish Memorial Mass that evening at 7:00pm, and throughout the month of November.
It seems that the autumn colors in our trees are now at their peak, if not past. The cooler weather at the end of last week has brought out the best in our fall foliage. God’s hand is apparent all around us. Let us take time to notice the beauty. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy