This weekend we celebrate the 33rd and Final Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next weekend, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. We have been reading from Mark’s Gospel for most of this church year. Our final Gospel reading from Mark appears near the end of a chapter that is often called “Mark’s apocalypse.” Jesus describes some of the typical cosmic signs that God’s plan for the world – God’s final rule over things — is nearing its culmination. He urges the disciples to attend to the signs of the Messiah’s arrival. Just as they can read the signs of the weather and the changing seasons, signs of God’s victory over sin and death are all around. They must be awake and watchful for the time of completing God’s plan of salvation is known to none but God alone. This same message will be heard again when we begin Advent and a new church year on December 2nd.
“Go,” He Said, is the title of a pastoral letter written by Bishop Conlon. The letter is included in the November issue of Christ is our Hope magazine that was mailed to every registered family, or can be viewed online at www.dioceseofjoliet.org/bishop in mobile-friendly format, downloadable PDF or audio in both English and Spanish, along with reflection questions for individuals and small groups. Please consider reading or listening to our bishop’s letter and consider how you can ‘Go and Make Disciples’.
One of the traditional aspects of the month of November is our prayerful remembrance of those who have gone before us in faith. Our parish Book of Remembrance is now at the front of the Church near the Baptistery and the Easter Candle. If you were not able to add the names of your beloved dead in the book for our All Souls Day Masses, please feel free to add these names to our Book of Remembrance. We continue to remember all of our beloved dead in prayer during this month of November.
I recently came across an interesting thought attributed to Pope Francis – “In certain moments doubts come to everyone. Doubts that touch the faith, in a positive sense, are a sign that we want to know God, Jesus, and the mystery of his love for us better and more deeply.” Pope Francis isn’t the first to realize this truth. Many of the great saints in our past saw their doubts as invitations from God to draw closer! We tend to do the opposite – doubts come and we panic! We back up, withdraw and wonder what we are doing wrong. Doubts can be like warning lights on the dash board of our lives. They remind us that we are limited. They tell us that we don’t have everything figured out or it all together. And they can tell us when we are running on empty! When that happens, what do I do to fill my tank? Do I fill my tank with something fleeting? Or do I take the moment as a “sign to want to know the mystery of His Love more deeply?”
We are happy to again provide an assortment of Advent devotional books this year, including the “Little Blue Books for Advent/Christmas.” Both English and Spanish editions of the “Little Books” are available this weekend. These devotional books give us brief daily reflections during Advent and Christmas and then invite us “to spend some quiet time with the Lord.” The various programs begin on the First Sunday of Advent, December 2nd. With all of the activity coming up in the weeks ahead, here is a good opportunity to keep our balance through individual, personal prayer.
This weekend we join with the other parishes of our diocese in participating in the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Since 1970, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has been our church’s compassionate and effective response to the needs of low-income people in our own diocese and throughout our 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 will be tithed 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.
I am not sure of the origins of Worldwide Priest Appreciation Sunday on the last Sunday of October, but I am very grateful for the messages of appreciation you sent to all three of us on that weekend. We are blessed to be able to serve you here at St. Isidore’s and are grateful for the good wishes you expressed.
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.
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 regular Saturday morning time.
We wish all a happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day and weekend. As always, I pray that God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy