July 15, 2018 Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today 71 teens and 14 adult chaperones along with Fr. Mark are leaving for a week long mission trip to Troy, Missouri.  They will be part of a group of 400 teens and adults from churches all over the country, along with 60 teens from St. Raphael in Naperville. During their time there they will be repairing homes of needy seniors and low income residents.  I ask that you keep our teens and adults in your prayers this week for a safe journey there and back, and that they truly encounter Jesus in the people they meet and the ministry they do.

This year we are participating in the Diocesan Mission Cooperative.  Next weekend we welcome Father Jevic Pendon from the Diocese of Romblon in the Philippines who will preach all the Masses making a mission appeal to help the poor in his Diocese.  A second collection will be taken.  Since the second collection will go through our accounting system, checks should be made out to “Our Lady of Mercy” with Philippine Mission in the memo line.  This way your donation will appear on your year-end contribution statement from the parish.  If you give cash, put in in an envelope with your name and envelope number so that your donation can be accounted to your contribution statement.  Thank you in advance for your support of our brothers and sisters in need.

You’ve heard the saying….want to make God laugh?  Tell him your plans!  Think about your life 20, 40 or even 60 years ago.  What were your plans?  What did you envision for your future?  What did you hope to be when you grew up?  Did you achieve your hope, or are you doing something with your life that you never imagined?  Questions like these encourage us to consider the paths our lives have taken and find the hand and heart of God in the midst of it all.  In that way, we become open to new paths and to new calling we might never have dreamed of answering.  Most of us have to work to make a living.  So we educate ourselves and get a job.  Amos in our first reading had two jobs.  He was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.  While at his Job, Amos was called by God to speak for God, to be a prophet.  Judging from his conversation with Amaziah, being a prophet was never on Amos’ to-do list.  On the contrary, he did not even want to be associated with the guilds of prophets whose frenzied ecstasies were very strange and difficult to discern.  Nevertheless, by God’s grace, Amos prophesied, and as a result, his words continue to challenge God’s people to uphold God’s justice and be defenders of the poor and downtrodden.  Jesus had been a carpenter and was called by God to leave that safe and relatively comfortable life behind in order to call people to “repent and believe, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).  So closely attuned was Jesus to God’s call that he suffered rejection, torture and mockery, and in the end, he gave his life.  When Jesus called the Twelve, each already had his own means of livelihood.  But at Jesus’ invitation, each was willing to set aside his job and share in Jesus’ vocation.  His instructions to them were simple – they were to preach repentance, heal people and continue Jesus’ battle with the powers of evil.  What has Jesus called you to do and to be?

Have a Blessed Week!

Father Don