Our long pre-Lent season of Ordinary Time continues this weekend as we celebrate the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. With our Easter celebration coming very late this year on April 21st, Ash Wednesday is not observed until March 6th. This gives us a longer period of eight weeks of Ordinary Time during the January/February months of this year. We have a longer period to dive into Luke’s Gospel (the primary Gospel of this year) and encounter the person of Jesus as Luke presents him to us.
We pick up where we left off last week. After giving us a slightly different version of the Beatitudes, Jesus continues his “Discourse on the Plain” giving us the ethics of the Reign of God. He is speaking to a large group of his disciples and also to the foreigners, outsiders from Tyre and Sidon that were living in that region. He challenges us to be like God in forgiveness and love for one’s enemies – “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” But then he departs from the common Jewish party line of insiders vs. outsiders and teaches that God shows goodness and mercy to the rude, the mean, the swindler, the untrustworthy and the wicked. God would let his Son die for people while they are sinners, and that God shines the same sun on those who love him and those who despise him. We are given a glimpse of what will come later in this Gospel. For those of us on the inside, it can be easy to feel resentment at what seems like injustice in our eyes. Jesus point is very clear – “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you…” Time to leave our resentments behind as we mold our hearts according to God’s heart of mercy. Time to respond with compassion, just as we have received compassion from our loving God.
What a challenging message – impossible to accomplish on our own. Fortunately Jesus knew that and sent us his gift of the Spirit to be our guide and our strength as we seek to become better disciples day by day.
A sincere thank you to all who planned and worked on the various planning committees of our St. Isidore Dinner Dance and Silent Auction over the past few months. “The Greatest Show” was truly a wonderful mid-winter evening spent with each other while supporting the educational ministries of our St. Isidore Parish Grade School. We seem to be at the height of the “Dinner Dance” and “Silent Auction / Gala” season. Thank you to all those who chose to spend the evening with us.
As I announced here a few weeks ago, Mrs. Cyndi Collins, Principal of St. Isidore Catholic School for the past 15 years, intends to retire at the end of this school year. I wish Cyndi well as she joins her recently retired husband in a new season of their marriage. She will be greatly missed.
The Diocesan Catholic Schools Office is working with us in taking the steps that we will take to find a new principal for St. Isidore Grade School and to ensure a seamless leadership transition. One very important step is to elicit the ideas of faculty and staff members, parents and parishioners regarding the leadership qualities that are necessary to address the present and future needs of our school. The Catholic Schools Office has designed a brief online survey that will help us identify the necessary qualities we need in our new principal. They survey will take about seven to ten minutes of your time. It is currently online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/StIsidore2019 and will be up through midnight Friday, March 1, 2019. Your input is very important to us. Thank you to those who have already responded. Your continued prayers for all are greatly appreciated.
Confirmation interviews with our candidates for Confirmation and their sponsors begin today. These interviews with one of our priests or staff members normally take about 20 minutes. If you are a candidate for our celebration of Confirmation on Saturday, May 18th, please schedule your appointment as soon as possible.
Each spring, our Joliet Diocese conducts the Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. This Annual Appeal supports the various ministries and services of the Diocese of Joliet. The theme for this year’s appeal is Signs of Hope. Each family should have already received the CMAA materials from Bishop Conlon in the mail. We have received a campaign tabloid from the Diocese that is included in this weekend’s bulletin. Ministries and services of the Diocese include Catholic Charities, the Catholic Schools Office, the Family Life Office, the Social Concerns Office, the Respect Life Office, the Campus Ministry Office, the Marriage Tribunal, the Vocation Office, the Permanent Diaconate Office, as well as education costs for our seminarians and Permanent Deacon candidates. Each parish needs these ministries and services, but by ourselves, we are unable to provide them. Together, as a larger Diocesan church, we can provide these ministries and services. Next weekend will be the in-pew “Commitment Weekend” for the 2019 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. Bishop Conlon has prepared a recorded message for next weekend requesting our support of the appeal, following which we will have an opportunity to pledge our commitment to this year’s appeal. It is also possible to complete the appeal card at home and return in the enclosed envelope. Thank you for your prayer consideration of Bishop Conlon’s request for support of the Annual Appeal.
May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy