The Twelve Apostles

Dear Parishioners,


The Twelve must have felt a mix of fear and exhilaration.  Here they are, relatively new to Jesus and his mission, sent out to preach repentance, drive out demons, and anoint those who were sick (cf. Mark 6: 7-13). This is quite a tall order.  It would be difficult for someone who knew the faith inside and out and had a great experience of ministry from which to draw.  Yet the apostles barely know Christ and are still very uninformed about his message.  We can be certain the apostles were nervous, to say the least.  Would they be able to answer questions?  Would they know what they were doing?  Would they make mistakes?


The twelve apostles were, without doubt, scared.  They probably found themselves saying something similar to what Amos said, as we hear in the first reading: who am I to do this?  Amos is a prophet and is ordered by God to speak some challenging messages.  When the priest, Amaziah, confronts Amos about it, Amos says it's not his fault.  He didn't ask for this, but was sent by God.  “I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel” (Amos 7:14-15).


I'm sure we've been in a similar position as the apostles and Amos: sent on a challenging mission that we didn't really sign up for.  It's okay to be afraid.  We're in good company if we are.  The apostles and Amos were.


But also allow yourself to also be excited at the challenge.  For the apostles had to be excited to when they were sent out two by two.  Think about it. Jesus Christ, God himself, "gave them authority" (Mk 6:7).  What amazing confidence our Lord had in them!  This had to excite the twelve.  They were not stuck in the classroom.  They were allowed, right off the bat, to go out into the field and get into action.  And they were doing pretty exciting stuff: combating demons, for instance.  Who wouldn't be thrilled to do this? 


I remember when I was in seminary and chomping at the bit to be ordained.  I was tired of learning.  I wanted to go out and celebrate the sacraments, preach, and be with people.  If I had been allowed to do all this after a few months as a first year seminarian (seminary, by the way, is at least four years), I would have been excited! 


Excitement and exhilaration should overcome fear and hesitation.  Why?  Because we know, if we have discerned properly, that God is sending us.  God will never let us down.  He will give us the grace and the gifts we need to succeed.  He did so with Amos and the apostles.  He will do so with us.


So, whether it's being a parent, an empty-nester, taking on a new job, confronting an issues, or preaching the Gospel to someone who is not religious, see the challenges in your life as an exciting opportunity to grow in faith.


Thank you to all who helped with the Totus Tuus Vacation Bible School, particularly Mary Petrash and her team of volunteers.  It was a great success and we're grateful to the young adults from Totus Tuus who made the week so special. 


As mentioned previously, the old "lounge" meeting room in the parish center has been completely renovated. I want to thank especially WGN Radio, Retail First Corporation, and David Plier for the donations (over $15,000 worth of items donated!), as well as all the teens who helped move everything.  Thank you for helping improve our parish's meeting space.


St. Juliana Parish is starting the Queen of Hearts Raffle.  You may have read recently how some parishes on the south side, as well as a few VFW Halls, have run this raffle to tremendous success (some producing a pot of over $1 million).  Please look online for more details about the raffle coming soon.


We continue to welcome to the parish our newest staff members: Fr. Emanuel Torres-Fuentes, Mr. Glenn De Castro, and Mr. Ray Balcarcel.  Please say hello and welcome them if you see them. 



Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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