Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 30, 2018
Nothing is worth more than our souls. Money, our health, the 70-inch flat-screen TV, that Scotch collection in our basement...nothing. We should be willing to do whatever it takes to protect our souls and strengthen them. We should be willing to sacrifice and forgo anything that would endanger our souls.
This is what my namesake, St. James, is getting at in the second reading this weekend. "Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days" (James 5:2-3).
This is also what Jesus is getting at when he says, rather extremely, "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off" (Mark 9:43).
What's the best thing we can do for our souls? Pray and worship God. Those aren't the only things we need to do, but they are the most important (in my opinion).
We are a spiritual people. We are built for God. We are hard-wired to be in touch with Jesus. When we are not in touch with God, mainly through prayer and worship, we become a hollowed-out version of ourselves.
There are things that pull us away from the spiritual life. They don't necessarily have to, but they can, depending on our personalities. If food or video games or our career become ends in themselves and do not lead us to Jesus, then we need to cut them out, like that hand that causes us to sin in our Lord's example.
It might seem extreme and difficult. But when our souls are alive with God in heaven, we will be grateful we took the difficult path.
On Monday and Tuesday, a group of St. Juliana staff members and parishioners will gather at the Rosemont Convention Center for the Renew My Church Summit. The Archdiocese is holding this event for all parishes to provide guidance on how to evangelize and build vibrant and sustainable parishes. If you recall, we are grouped together with St. Mary of the Woods and Queen of All Saints. Our grouping has not yet been "activated" and we're still not sure when it will and just what exactly will come from that. Other groupings around the Archdiocese have been activated. Each grouping looks different. Some parishes have merged to form one; some parishes have become one parish while keeping the churches themselves open as a "worship sites"; some parishes have remained the same and just collaborated on various efforts. All we can do is continue to experience Jesus and grow in holiness, and trust God will provide for St. Juliana and the Archdiocese.
I will be away at Mundelein Seminary Wednesday through Saturday morning for the spiritual director training that the Archdiocese has asked me to complete. I'll be mostly out of touch these days, so please contact the parish office if there is any message you need to leave for me. I will be sure to be back for the Notre Dame-St. Patrick's football game Saturday night. Good luck to all the St. Juliana alumni playing or cheering.
This upcoming Friday, October 5th is a First Friday, which means we will have Eucharistic Adoration in the church following the 8:30am Mass until 6:00pm. Please stop in and say hi to Jesus.
Next Sunday, October 7th at 4pm in the church Patrick McCaskey of the Chicago Bears will be speaking on sports and faith. He will then join us for the 5pm Mass. We are excited for him to join us. We are making this Mass a special "Sports Mass." We are honoring all those in athletics both at St. Juliana and the high schools our students attend. Please encourage your son or daughter to attend. The Pastoral Council will also be inaugurated at this Mass.
Yours in Christ,