A word from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI ~ “Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return.”
On this first weekend in August, we celebrate the 18th Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year. Week by week we have been reading from Luke’s Gospel. This weekend, we hear of a quarrel between two brothers for which Jesus refuses to play the role of judge. Greed blinds the brothers to the truly important things of life. Jesus uses the moment to teach that one’s possessions don’t substitute for the real stuff of life. He then offers a parable to drive home his point. He concludes with a blunt warning to “all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.” Even in the more relaxed months of summer, we are challenged to keep “what matters to God” before us and to act on it.
In attempts to keep our vision focused beyond ourselves, our Diocese asks that each parish welcome a Mission Speaker who can make an appeal sometime over the course of the year. While our own needs can seem very pressing, it is important to notice the needs of those with far less than what we have. This weekend we have the opportunity to welcome Sister Clarissa, a missionary from the Philippines. Sister will speak at each Mass and share with us the work that her order does with the people of the Philippines who live in extreme poverty. Special envelopes are in the pews for us to respond to her appeal. Thank you, in advance, for your generosity.
This Tuesday, August 6th, we celebrate the Feast of The Transfiguration of the Lord. The event of the Transfiguration was a spectacular event in Jesus life. Normally we hear the Gospel of this feast every year on the Second Sunday in Lent. Hearing it then reminds us of the glory that God has prepared for us if we are faithful to his call. We see Jesus gathered with his closest friends – Peter, James and John. He takes them aside to the top of a mountain. There he shares a moment of prayer with them. During that time he experiences a tremendous union with his Father that his glory as God’s son breaks through his humanity and his appearance is changed. Everything came together in Jesus’ life at that moment. His humanity and his divinity merged together so completely that Peter, James and John saw his glory bursting out of his human body. It was a moment of complete glory when everything in his life fit together in perfect harmony.
Many of us have had brief moments when it seemed that everything in our lives came together in perfect harmony and we saw glory! Briefly recall the moment we proposed to our spouse or were proposed to by our spouse. Didn’t we see glory? And the moment when we held our child for the first time – another moment of glory! Remember when we felt tremendous pride in our children that we thought we would bust! Or we landed the job of our dreams – and all of our dreams came together. Or we may have been on a retreat like CRHP, Cursillo or Kairos and we felt a tremendous closeness with God that we didn’t want to end. These were moments of glory when it felt like heaven and earth came together in a perfect union and we didn’t want the moment to end.
For many of us northsiders, we shared a moment of glory on November 2, 2016 at 11:40 pm. Our dreams came true with the final out and the Cubs won the World Series! For those of us who are southsiders, you experienced this glory a few years earlier when the White Sox claimed the same title of World Champions. Which ever team we were cheering for, we tasted glory and we didn’t want the moment to end. As a life-long Cubs fan, that moment in November 2016 was seared into my memory and will be one that I will never forget. We saw glory and were truly given a hint of what heaven must be like. And like Peter, we wanted to erect three tents – we didn’t want the moment to end.
The Father’s voice from the cloud tells us how we can keep that moment of glory alive – “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Even though our personal moments of glory come and go so quickly, listening to Jesus, living our lives as his disciples, being faithful in the good and bad times, sets us on a path that leads to glory that will never end. For now, our brief moments of glory challenge us to focus our energy on the glory that is unending.
Tuesday’s Feast of The Transfiguration of the Lord invites us to pause on our sojourn through the summer. We remember past moments of glory and recommit ourselves to listening to God’s beloved Son and to truly living our faith leading to moments of unending, eternal glory with God.
“Back to School” advertising circulars continue to weigh down our
Where did the summer go? 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