When we pray...

Father James and Kevin Matthews, Award Recipient of the John McDonough Humanitarian Award 

wirh Dcn Hank Lyon & Sem Kevin Gregus at the 2nd Annual St Juliana Emerald City Gala

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 22, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Saint Paul says this to Timothy: "It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument" (1 Timothy 2:8).  Of all the things Paul could have expressed, prayer is what he mentions.  Paul wants people to pray.  Prayer is so important, so fundamental; arguably more fundamental than the Sacraments. 

One of the things prayer does for us is allow us to transcend our bodies, our current situation, and enter into God.  Once in God, we then enter back into the world or the situations that he is guiding.  We thus become cooperators with God.  And because God is guiding everything, our situations generally end up for the better when we pray.

Notice in the parable the steward has an introspective moment.  After he's called to account by his master, he takes stock of his situation.  The Gospel verse reads, "The steward said to himself..." (Luke 16:3).  He then realizes what he needs to do.  It's similar to the prodigal son from last week's parable.  When the prodigal son hits rock bottom, the Gospel verse reads, "Coming to his senses he thought..." (Luke 15:17).  The prodigal son makes the decision to return home.

Now, I don't know exactly if these "introspective moments" by the steward and prodigal son were actually prayers, but let's pretend they were.  They're made up stories, after all, so we can do what we want with them!  The steward and prodigal son are in quandaries, and they pray.  And their quandaries are resolved.

Coincidence? No.  When we pray, we receive the eyes of God and the heart of God.  Our temperaments are conditioned to the proper situation and we are given the necessary wisdom to move forward properly.  This is why it is so important for anyone in a leadership position--be you an office manager or a parent or teacher--to pray.  It won't be you acting, but God acting in you.  And everything will always turn out for the best when that's the case.  It did for the dishonest steward and Saint Paul and Timothy!

This is the Seminary Appeal Weekend throughout the Archdiocese.  Our three seminarians, Deacon Hank Lyon (4th Theology), Christian Melendez-Cruz (2nd Theology), and Kevin Gregus (1st Theology) will speak at all the Masses during the homily time.  We are blessed to have them and we appreciate your continued support and prayers for them.  Also, we are excited to have Father Tom Byrne for the main celebrant at the 11am Mass.  Father Byrne is a friend of a mine (we were on the team that won the priest golf outing back in July) and in charge of all the Chicago seminarians at the seminary.  Welcome, Father Byrne!

If you are interested, I will be on TV this Sunday morning at 9am for the Mercy Home Mass.  I actually filmed this Mass back in March. The next time I will appear on TV for the Mass will be in November.

See inside the bulletin for more information on the Novena for Healing and Atonement, which runs from September 21-29.  There are also prayer cards in the back of the church.  Feel free to take as many as you would like.

Next Friday, September 27 will be a great football night.  Saint Juliana boys football will play my alma mater, Sts. Faith Hope and Charity at 6pm in Winnetka.  Back in Niles is the classic rivalry: Notre Dame versus St. Pat's.  Best to all of our St. Juliana alumni players. 

Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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