September 19, 2021
A word from Pope Francis ~ We have observed that, in society and the world in which we live, selfishness has increased more than love for others, and that men of good will must work, each with his own strengths and expertise, to ensure that love for others increases until it is equal and possibly exceeds love for oneself.”
On this mid-month Sunday in September, we celebrate the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time and we continue our journey through Mark’s Gospel. Following last week’s profession of faith by Peter (“Who do you say that I am?” “You are the Christ.”), and Jesus’ rebuking Peter’s misunderstanding of what being “the Christ” means, Jesus teaches in unmistakable terms that being “the Christ” or “the Messiah” leads to suffering and death. Jesus sees his mission as Messiah in the pattern of Isaiah’s suffering servant. The disciples again give ample evidence that they do not understand what Jesus is teaching. They fail to grasp not only his suffering, but his servanthood. Instead, they argue among themselves who is most important! Jesus continues to teach them – he places before them a child, a person with no status and no possessions. To follow Jesus the Messiah, the disciples must accept him in the poverty and lack of status of a servant – but the servant of God.
It was a very moving sight to see the Bloomingdale police department vehicles and the Bloomingdale Fire Department Tower 23 in our parking lot last Sunday morning. The sky was as cloudless and clear blue as it was twenty years ago on September 11, 2001. Our First Responders were all here for the sixth annual “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. Even though a number of those invited were unable to be with us due to overtime shifts and alert periods covering other departments, they were able to join in on the live-stream which we do each Sunday. Just as I was getting ready to offer a prayer of blessing for those who joined with us both in person and on our live-stream, we could hear the sirens from the fire station on Gary Avenue as they were responding to a call. Thank you again to our Knights of Columbus Council for sponsoring this Mass where we were able to honor and show respect to First Responders in the Chicagoland area and for hosting a breakfast following the Mass. Thank you also to all police, firefighters, Sheriff’s deputies, Emergency Medical Technicians and rescue workers who joined with us both in person and through the live-stream of our Mass. We thank you for your service and ask God’s continued blessings upon you and your families. I am very happy that we were able to continue this tradition at our parish this year.
Media coverage of last Saturday’s national commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks filled the day. Many on social media also acknowledged the day. Amid all of the Facebook posts was a stream of September 12th posts. They carried an interesting message: “The best way we could ever honor those lost on 9/11 is to live each day like September 12th. There is no race, gender, or political side. In the end, the only thing that matters is each other.” That message struck home as I very clearly remembered the tone in our country on September 12, 2001. Our country pulled together overcoming the many things that divide us. In the end, there are many more things that we share in common, things that unite us than things that divide us. We continue to pray for the 9/11 victims and for those they left behind.
Looking ahead, we are planning on holding our annual Stewardship Renewal weekend on November 6-7. The Gospel reading for that weekend gives us the account of the Widow’s Mite. Initial planning has begun as the parish Stewardship Council met last Monday. As we thought about a theme for this year’s renewal, several different current trends were noted. We are hopefully coming out of the worst pandemic we have seen in our lifetimes. Many of us are aware of the significant losses we faced during the time of the shut down and the steps we had to take to reopen our church for in-person prayer. So many of the losses that we have experienced were really the loss of the relationships associated with the events that were postponed or cancelled. We missed being with the people who are an important part of the fabric of our lives. As we begin a new round of “The Search” video, the first episode describes the journey that we make throughout our lives – a journey in search of something deeper and lasting. Our feelings of restlessness point toward someone who can satisfy our restlessness – God himself! And as we celebrated the feast of St. Augustine just a month ago, I was reminded of his profession of faith that he wrote of in his Confessions, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Add all of this together and we have the preliminary theme “Stewardship – From Restless Hearts to Grateful Hearts.” I am sure that this will be fine-tuned in many ways over the weeks ahead. But I thought it would be good to share some of the steps we take in planning for our annual Stewardship Commitment Renewal.
A new cycle with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) began last Sunday. Sessions are offered for those seeking to learn more about the Catholic Christian faith and are offered in both English and Spanish. Please call the parish office for additional information.
Our weekday 12:05pm daily Mass has resumed – Monday through Friday. Daily Mass runs about a half hour. If your schedule permits it, consider joining us for our mid-day daily Mass.
We welcome the season of autumn this Wednesday, September 22nd at 2:20pm CDT. A whole new season of the year is opening before us. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.