A word from Pope Francis ~ “Christ’s cross, embraced with love, never leads to sadness, but to joy, to the joy of having been saved and of doing a little of what he did on the day of his death.”
Today, August 15th, we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Whenever a solemnity or major feast day falls on a Sunday, it replaces the usual Sunday celebration. So instead of celebrating the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we celebrate the Holy Day of Mary’s Assumption. This Feast reminds us of something very basic to our faith: God calls us as whole persons with both a body and a soul. We sometimes make the mistake of saying that our duty is to “save our soul.” But what about the rest of our person – especially our body? A human person is made up of both a body and a soul. To describe salvation as “saving our soul” says nothing about the human body at all.
What is unique about our Christian faith is our belief that God the Son became one of us by taking on a human body. Christ ascended into heaven with both body and soul. Christ’s whole person is now at the right hand of the Father. If we become too spiritual in our language and talk only about “souls,” we downplay the fact that Christ had a human body like ours and that his body was worthy of heaven, too.
The Feast of Mary’s Assumption celebrates our belief that her body, like that of Jesus’ is now in heaven. She didn’t just “save her soul.” God desires to redeem us totally and completely, body and soul. Without this Feast, we might become too spiritual in our language and forget the truth that God calls us to himself as whole persons, not just souls. It also emphasizes that our bodies are good and not something to be escaped from at the time of death.
The story is told of an elderly man being admitted to the local hospital for a medical procedure. As a part of the admission process, the clerk asked him if he had a religious preference. He replied, “I had always wanted to be a Catholic, but no one ever asked me before. You are the first.”
Many of the adults who enter the Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) do so because someone else invited them to consider the Catholic faith. Do you know someone who is searching for that something deeper in life that our faith can offer? Do you know someone who is looking for a church home where they are welcome and can belong? Do you know someone who may be coming to Mass already but has not taken any steps to become part of the Church? Perhaps all that any of these people need is an invitation to consider the Catholic faith. God can work through the invitation. We will be hosting a new RCIA group beginning in September. There are no costs or additional obligations. Perhaps all another person needs is an invitation to consider the Catholic faith. For additional information, please contact Leonor Carvajal at 630-529-3045.
Today’s Feast of the Assumption usually signals the end of summer for me. Parish life dramatically picks up after this feast as we prepare for the beginning of the school year. COVID restrictions continue to be in place assuring the safety of all in our school building. Hopefully local high school fall sports programs will be in place this year. Our Grade School begins classes on Wednesday with the Opening Mass at 10:00am. For many we are in the final days of summer vacation. Most of our college students are returning to campus this week. We are moving into a time of transition.
Recent news of the spike in COVID virus cases is really discouraging. Most of the new cases are hitting people who are unvaccinated. Please, for the sake of us all, if you are yet to be vaccinated, do whatever you have to do to get the vaccine. I remember when I was young and got the polio vaccine and measles shots before going to school. These helped us overcome those diseases. We can beat this virus.
There really are a few more days of summer. Let’s take advantage of them. And let us remember in prayer all those who are traveling at this time of year. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
WFather Jim Murphy