Ah, the cross! We love it and we hate it. The cross hangs proudly, front and center, in our churches. We wear it on our chests, display it in our homes, and dangle it from our rearview mirrors in our cars. Young people tattoo it on their bodies. And yet, we despise suffering. We beg God to take away our crosses, or the crosses of our loved ones. We shake our heads in dismay when we hear of people in distress, and we do all in our power, often by service work, to help mitigate the cross. We tremble at the shadow of a cross as it comes into our lives.
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt 16:24). Love or hate it, there is no denying the cross. It is crucial to our faith and to our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.
We do not have to enjoy our crosses. Even though our Lord kissed his, he did not say we have to do the same. We need merely take it up. The cross is our salvation. The next time you are suffering—physically, emotionally, psychologically, or spiritually–remember you are helping redeem yourself and the world. We need the cross.
This Tuesday, September 5th at 7pm in the chapel I will begin my Tuesday Theology Series, starting with a history of the Roman Empire. The topics will vary each week—it is okay if you do not attend each one--and all are most welcome.
We will met this weekend at all the Masses Hank Lyon and Ankit Mathews, the two seminarians who have been assigned to our parish. Hank is in his second year of theology (two more years until he is ordained a priest) and Ankit is in his first year of theology (three more years until ordination). They will be present at the parish on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings, as well as on the weekends. They are full-time students at Mundelein Seminary, but will receive formation from their experience at St. Juliana. They will also help us in a variety of ways: teaching CCD, leading RCIA, helping in the school, and performing other tasks around the parish. The Missionary Spirit Team has graciously volunteered to accompany Hank and Ankit in their years with us, meeting with them three times a semester, praying for them, and offering them feedback on their experiences. Deacon Robinson Ortiz will be with us as well throughout the year, continuing his service to St. Juliana. We are blessed to have these young men with us! Let us pray for their vocations and that their time here will bear fruit a hundredfold.
Wednesday night I will celebrate Mass for all of our Religious Education Catechists to begin the new RE year. Thank you to all of our catechists who so generously give their time and energy to forming our children. I will then try to attend that same night the Knights of Columbus meeting at St. John Brebeuf parish.
Please buy your tickets for the Last Daze of Summer BBQ in the parking lot on Saturday, September 9th. It is a great time and I look forward to partying with you all!
Yours in Christ,