A word from Pope Francis ~ “We need a church capable of walking at people’s side, of doing more than simply listening to them; a church that accompanies them on their journey; a church able to make sense of the ‘night’ contained in the flight of so many of our brothers and sisters from Jerusalem; a church that realizes that the reasons why people leave also contain reason why the can eventually return.”
Today we celebrate the 16th Sunday in the ordinary time of the year. All through this year we have been reading from the Gospel of St. Luke in our Sunday gospel readings. Week by week, we are seeing Luke’s portrayal of Jesus’ ministry unfold before us. Last weekend we heard Jesus teach us the great Commandment, followed by the parable of the Good Samaritan. This weekend we hear the familiar story of Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha and Mary. Martha is busy with serving and Mary is attentive to Jesus’ words. He doesn’t see this as a question of one versus the other – but more a caution about anxiety and worry. Because Jesus is well aware of the demands of service for the sake of the Gospel and anxieties that often accompany it, he tells his disciples, including Martha, to keep their attention on Jesus even in the midst of their activity. The one thing necessary is to embrace the word of God, Jesus himself, with the generous and good heart.
One of the blessings of our church liturgical calendar is that we celebrate the feast of many of her 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 (Thursday) and Sts. Joachim and Anne (Friday).
St. James, brother of John, is called “The Greater” because he was the first to follow Christ before the 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 feasts give us a good opportunity to prayerfully remember our own grandparents and the influence they have had in our lives. If they are still with us, give them a call on Friday or stop by for a visit or even lunch. If they are no longer with us, Friday may be a good day to visit the cemetery where they are buried. Ask them to pray for us. We are still connected to the Communion of the Saints.
Thank you to all who have already pledged to the 2019 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal, and especially to those who responded to the second phase reminder letters recently sent out by the Diocesan Development Office. Our pledges support the work of the diocese, our larger church. Our CMMA goal this year is $180,100. Thank you for the 869 households who have pledged $173,247 towards our 2019 goal. We reached our goal in paid pledges last year through the participation of 938 households. If you haven’t had a chance to respond to the 2019 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal, please join me and make your pledge as soon as possible. Your generosity is deeply appreciated and helps us meet our obligations to the larger Diocesan church.
Now that the summer months have arrived, our parish staff normally shifts into our summer hours. We are continuing our practice of closing the Parish offices on Fridays during July. One of our staff will be on duty for telephone calls and deliveries. This practice gives our staff some additional time for family activities.
The extra space around us at Sunday mass reminds us that many are away on vacation. Remember in our prayers although were traveling. And we thank God for the opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.
Father Jim Murphy