FROM THE PASTOR’S CORNER:
A word from Pope Francis ~ “Every time I leave Mass I must leave better than I went in. The Eucharist should leave a person with a better heart, a better spirit and a stronger desire to live as a Christian.”
As we celebrate the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time and continue our continuous reading Luke’s Gospel, we hear from the famous Chapter 15. This Chapter gives us the familiar stories of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Prodigal Son. Because the Pharisees are scandalized by Jesus’ popularity among “tax collectors and sinners,” Jesus shares three stories about God’s mercy and the need for human cooperation with God’s grace. In the first two stories, an item of value is lost and the owner goes to great lengths to recover it. The recovery of each item brings great joy to its owner. No one wants to lose something of value, not even God. Jesus concludes with his best story, communicating the depth of God’s mercy to sinners who repent.
It was a very moving sight to see the police department and first responder vehicles in our parking lot last Sunday morning. Our local First Responders were here for the “Blue Mass” which we celebrated at our 10:00am Mass last Sunday. They appreciated the prayers and thanks we offered for them and were especially grateful for the blessings we prayed over them at the end of Mass. Many joined us for the luncheon held in their honor following the Mass. It was an emotional day for both our First Responders and for us who honored them last Sunday. Thank you to our Father John Guiney Council of the Knights of Columbus for sponsoring our 4th Annual Blue Mass. Special thanks go to Bill Gorsline who spearheaded this special event with the Knights. It was something we needed to do!
Work on our parish Perpetual Adoration Chapel is almost complete. During the past few weeks, the roof was installed, the interior was painted, the carpet was laid and the concrete sidewalks were set. A Perpetual Adoration Chapel was one of the needs identified during the needs assessment that was done in the parish during January and February 2013. Later that year, our “Honoring Our Roots, Cultivating Our Future” Capital Campaign was launched. Funds for the construction of a Perpetual Adoration Chapel were raised during that campaign, which concluded last December. A dedication and formal opening date will be set soon.
It has been the consistent belief of our church from the very beginning that the bread and wine consecrated at Mass truly become the Body and Blood of Christ. The Eucharistic Christ continues to be present in our midst beyond the Eucharistic liturgy when the consecrated host is either reposed in the tabernacle or exposed in a monstrance. While we can truly experience the presence of the Eucharistic Lord when we pray before the tabernacle, people report experiencing a greater sense of intimacy with Jesus and attentiveness of mind and heart to prayer when they are able to actually “see” our Eucharistic Lord.
As Roman Catholics, our primary prayer is the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the Mass. This is our community prayer, a “God and us” prayer. Eucharistic Adoration gives us a unique time for individual, “God and me” prayer. In a presentation to teens about Eucharistic Adoration, I once heard it described as “face time with Jesus.” Just as we want to spend time with those we love, Eucharistic Adoration is a great opportunity to spend time with the Lord Jesus. He gave us the gift of the Eucharist because he wants to be with us. Many have found that time spent before the Eucharist is that moment of peace and quiet that we so desperately seek in our lives. It is that time to be quiet and simply be with a good friend.
Another blessing of Eucharistic Adoration is that it helps form disciples for service and evangelization. Mark 3:13-14 describes a two-fold process through which Jesus formed his disciples: “He then went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted who came to him. He appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach the good news.” Jesus formed his disciples during a period of being with him followed by a period of being sent by him. The first stage of discipleship, the “being with Jesus,” was absolutely required for the accomplishment of the second stage, the “being sent “ out by Jesus to evangelize and break the bondage of evil in the world. This dual call reflects the fullness of the call to Christian discipleship. It is a call which Christ extends to his disciples today no less than he did to his original Twelve. Eucharistic Adoration gives us the chance “to be with” Jesus in order “to be sent by” Jesus. Our Perpetual Adoration Chapel will provide us with an opportunity to experience the first level of formation as a disciple – the “being with Jesus.”
Last week’s warm weather reminded us that summer is still here. Autumn does not officially begin until next Monday, September 23rd at 2:50am CDT. Enjoy this time – these are weeks of tremendous beauty. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy