Things weren't always easy for Jesus. We know this. We are familiar with all of our Lord's struggles in the Gospel, culminating in his crucifixion. The Pharisees argued with him, the crowds tried to stone him and throw him off a cliff, his apostles didn't understand him and left and betrayed him, his family thought he was out of his mind, and his hometown rejected him. This last one is from our Gospel this Sunday (cf. Mk 6:1-6). "Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house'."
Doing good can be a fight. We live in a fallen world. The world resists goodness.
Jesus came to do good: to teach, to heal, to redeem. He had to fight for it. Ezekiel, from the first reading, prophesied this: "Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they to whom I am sending you" (Ez 2:4).
Jesus still wants to do good, for there is still brokenness in our world. He has to fight for it because we don't receive his grace easily. We are stubborn.
This might be helpful to remember the next time you have to work for something good. Anything meaningful and worthwhile in life doesn't come easily. We have to fight for it. Well, Christ had to work too. So, I guess we're in good company.
Vacation Bible School begins this week, July 8th. It will run through Friday, with activities for youth during the day (including daily Mass, Reconciliation, faith talks, and games) and teens in the evening. The program is called Totus Tuus. We welcome the Totus Tuus team of young adult volunteers, who will be with us for the week. This is an excellent program and we are blessed to have it here at St. Juliana. Thank you Mary Petrash for coordinating this effort.
I'm grateful to Ray Balcarcel, a longtime parishioner of St. Juliana, who will be filling in as our interim business manager, in the wake of Jeanne Anderson's departure. Jeanne's last day was this past Friday. Ray will handle the finances of our large parish and work with me and the staff to ensure we continue to thrive.
Once again, the summer construction projects (men's restroom in church, new carpet in church, new playground and elevator) continue to go well. We are still looking for one or two nice pieces of framed, religious artwork for the lounge in the parish center. If you have something you would like to donate, please let me know. This will help make the space even nicer for all the meetings and activities that occur.
On Thursday, July 12th I will play in the annual Archdiocese of Chicago Priest's Golf Outing. The event is held every year around early July at Pine Meadow, a public golf course (owned by the Archdiocese, though leased out for maintenance) adjacent to Mundelein Seminary. The event is just for the priests and is a great time for fraternity. We have a dinner back at the seminary afterwards and the Cardinal is usually there to socialize with us as well. I'm telling you this because sometimes it can be helpful to see the human side of priests. We do get together and have fun! My foursome, consisting of my group of priest friends, is looking to supplant the old guard and win this year. Stay tuned for results.
And while we're on the subject, men, please consider playing in the St. Juliana Men's Club Golf Outing on Saturday, August 18th. The day is a blast, with great prizes and a dinner afterwards. Proceeds from the event help the parish with our variety of projects.
Yours in Christ,