From the Pastor’s Desk

November 15 – Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

The liturgical year “A” featuring Matthew’s gospel is quickly coming to an end.  Next Sunday is the Solemnity of Christ the King which is the last Sunday in Ordinary Time.  November 29th, the First Sunday of Advent, will begin a new liturgical year featuring the Gospel of Mark.  Today I will share with you a quick and basic overview of Mark’s Gospel in preparation for it being the primary gospel we will hear in 2021.

In the late 60’s of the first century, nearly forty years since the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, he had not returned.  The earliest Christians thought that the return of Jesus was imminent.  But now, forty years has passed and Jerusalem was under siege by the Romans, and the persecution of Christians in Rome itself was intensifying.  Peter and Paul had died, and few eye witnesses to Jesus’ ministry were left.  Christians had told and retold the stories of Jesus’ ministry, Death, and Resurrection over the years, but Christians began to feel the need for written instruction.  In these years, Mark, leaning on the teachings of Peter and others, wrote his Gospel, the earliest and shortest Gospel we have.  It is likely that he wrote for his suffering community in the environs of Rome.  His main concern was to record the basic facts and stay faithful to the tradition, and Mark wrote with a flair for the dramatic and a rich theological sense.

Suffering had thrown Mark’s community into a spiritual crisis.  The crisis came not because of weak faith, but through a strong faith too focused on the privileges and glory of being the community of the Resurrection.  Being disciples meant enjoying the benefits of Jesus’ victory.  To counter this, Mark refocused on Jesus’ Death as the foundation of discipleship.  Mark’s primary themes of the Kingdom of God, the identity of Jesus, and the call to discipleship each undergo dramatic development in the Gospel of Mark in light of the Cross.  For Mark, everything, even Jesus’ glorious return, stands in the shadow of his Crucifixion.  Discipleship is a key theme in Mark’s Gospel.  So get ready to be reminded that discipleship comes with a personal cost!

On Friday, November 20 and Sunday, November 22 we will welcome Bishop Joseph Perry, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago to Our Lady of Mercy Parish.  Bishop Perry will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to 90 of our high school teens.

We thank all those who were involved in the preparation of our confirmation candidates. Congratulations to the newly confirmed and fully initiated members of the Catholic Church!  We look forward to your continued growth in the Spirit and the sharing of your gifts and talents with our parish community!

Have a blessed week!

Father Don