Fr. James with the SPRED group. SPRED will be serving Mass this Sunday at 11am
Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 29, 2019
One message in this haunting story of the rich man (sometimes called 'Dives') and Lazarus is misfortune. By the way, this isn't technically classified as a parable, since many think it was a true story (parables are fictional accounts).
Lazarus was a good man, yet he receives a poor lot in this lifetime. The Old Testament held a stricter correlation between righteousness and reward. That is, if you were a good person, good things happened to you; a bad person and God would punish you. But Jesus throws that notion out. Lazarus is not a bad person, yet he suffers terribly in this lifetime. God doesn't punish/reward us based on how bad/good we are. That would turn God into an equation and make reality deterministic or fatalistic. In other words, we can determine the outcome by what we do. But that's not how things work. Besides, that would make us God.
This is an important message to hear. For we do, at least subconsciously, have this primitive understanding. We do good things to be rewarded. We avoid bad things to avoid punishment. "I've gone to Mass...maybe now I'll win the Queen of Hearts!" a little part of ourselves thinks. "That person just cut me off in traffic...hopefully God will give him a red light camera ticket on Touhy" we unwittingly tell ourselves to settle down.
It's important to be aware of this because this understanding can subtly erode our faith and trust in God. When things don't go the way we expect, we can be discouraged.
To avoid this pitfall, simply turn to God, ask for trust, and surrender to him all your hopes and expectations. He will give you the most meaningful reward there is: eternal life.
I have Mass this Sunday morning at 8am for the Notre Dame high school football team. After morning Masses at the parish, then, I will be heading up to Mundelein Seminary for spiritual direction class. I will be away until Thursday afternoon. This time I will be mostly out of contact, so if you need anything, please contact the parish office.
Next Saturday, October 5th is our school's homecoming. There will be a prayer service in the front of the church at 10:30am, followed by the procession to Brooks Park. The first game is at 11:30am. This is a great day, and a great party in the park, so feel free to stop by, even if you do not have a child or grandchild playing!
Save the date for next Sunday, October 6th for the courtyard dedication and reception. The courtyard will be open all morning, so please stop over to the school to check out the beautiful new space. The dedication itself will follow the 9:30am family Mass. This project, I guess you could say, took over four years. First, we had to create access into the sealed-off space. We made several doorways, as well as a hallway in the Ahearn Center entrance lobby. Parishioner Marty McAndrew was instrumental in this phase. Then we had to clean out the entire courtyard, which had become a landfill. Brian Dore and a team of parishioners filled several dumpsters one cold January day to accomplish this. The elevator was the next big item. The elevator shaft was constructed, as well as the elevator lobby and stairs and ramps for the entryways. That was accomplished summer 2018. The new playground was shortly thereafter installed. Finally, this summer we completed the "social" space, which includes fencing, a deck and pergola, and planters. There are still a few finishing touches that need to be made, but, by and large, the space is complete. The courtyard has already been put to use (the Men's Club Golf Outing had the reception there) and we hope more groups and functions will be held in this great space, as was once done in the parish's history. Thank you to all who made this possible!
Yours in Christ,