A word from Pope Francis ~ “There is an infallible way to defeat evil: by starting to conquer it within yourself.”
As we celebrate the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time on this first Sunday in September, we continue our chronological reading of St. Luke’s Gospel. Over the past four Sundays, we have seen Jesus making his way to Jerusalem and his ultimate destiny. As he goes, he speaks to the people in the crowds who are traveling with him of the sacrifices they will have to make to be his disciples. He summarizes with three specific costs of being a disciple. First, we should show an absolute, unwavering preference for Jesus above all others – even family members. The second requirement of discipleship is to carry one’s cross and come after Jesus. We must be prepared to do this. Only those who prefer Jesus above all others will be prepared to endure the suffering that discipleship demands. Finally, we cannot let anything else get in the way, including possessions or positions of honor or power. Quite a challenge!
Labor Day is filled with many different memories and meanings. For many of us, it signals the end of summer and all that is associated with summer. It is the time for the last fling outdoors. It is a time for a BBQ with family and friends. It is the weekend the summer home is closed. It is the weekend the boat is pulled out of the water and placed in storage. It is the time for moving from one season of the year to another. The holiday itself, “Labor Day,” gives us a chance to take a day off from work and reflect on the meaning of labor.
This weekend we pause to thank God for the ways in which we participate in the act of creation through significant and fruitful work. And we pray for those who are looking for work at this time. As is our custom on civil holidays, we will celebrate a single Mass on Monday at 9:00 am in the Church. Our parish offices will be closed in observance of the Labor Day holiday.
Our Knights of Columbus Council will host the annual “Blue Mass” at our 10:00 am Mass next Sunday, September 11. Police officers, firefighters, Sheriff’s deputies, Emergency Medical Technicians and rescue workers of all faiths are invited to attend and will have a reserved place during the Mass. The “Blue Mass” takes its name from the blue uniforms worn by police, fire and emergency services personnel. It is very appropriate that we honor our local first responder heroes as we also commemorate the attacks of 9/11. Our local police and fire departments have been individually invited. Any first responders serving in departments in the larger area are most welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served following the Mass in the Ministry Center.
The story is told of an elderly man being admitted to the 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 person needs is an invitation to consider the Catholic faith. We will be hosting a new RCIA group very soon. There are no costs or additional obligations. For additional information, please contact Leonor Carvajal at (630) 295-8351.
Enjoy the holiday weekend. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy