The elections in the United States are less than a month away. We have already had two presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate. We are bombarded every news cycle with election coverage and with candidate ads on radio and television. Hopefully by this time every citizen is giving more and more consideration to those individuals he/she is thinking of voting for and the reason for that choice. The Catholic Church is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates nor tell parishioners which candidates they should elect. However, the Church does offer guidance for discernment as parishioners make their decisions on how to vote with a properly formed conscience.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has updated its document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. You may purchase a copy at St. Peter’s Book and Gift Shop on the lower level of the church or you can go on the internet at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/index.cfm. The Catholic Conference of Illinois encourages you to carefully review the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching listed below as you consider candidates. More information may be found at www.ilcatholic.org.
Life and Dignity of the Human Person: Human life is sacred, and the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society and of Catholic social teaching. Abortion, physician-assisted suicide, cloning, embryonic stem cell research and racism are evils to be guarded against and opposed. Our promotion of human dignity and life also moves us to work for an end to war and the death penalty.
Care for God’s Creation: We are called to protect the planet, living in relationship with all of God’s creation. Pope Francis underscores the importance of our stewardship of the Earth in his encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. In it, he poses a key question: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”
Protection of and Participation in the Family and the Community: Social and economic policies affect our ability to grow in community. Marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported. Pope Francis stresses the significance of the family in Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), observing that marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported by the state.
Rights of the Person Protected and Each Person’s Responsibilities Met: Human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Every person has a fundamental right to life and to those things required for human decency, including food, water, shelter, employment and health care. As citizens, we all have duties to one another, our families and society.
Care for the Poor and Vulnerable: While the common good embraces all, those in greatest need deserve our preferential concerns. A moral test for society is how we treat the weakest among us, including children, the disabled, refugees, the elderly, the unemployed, the poor and the marginalized.
Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers: The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. Workers must have basic rights to decent work, fair wages, workplace safety, collective bargaining, private property and economic initiative.
Solidarity: We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. We work to create unity through dialogue and a civil discourse that is respectful of others.
TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
In the First Reading and the Gospel, prayer is the response to life’s challenges and struggles. We see that Moses discovers this in the First Reading as does the widow in the Gospel. Both choose prayer as a response to their situations. With God’s staff in his hands, Moses goes on top of a hill and holds his hands up in prayer, in a gesture we are familiar with from the liturgy. When his hands were up, God prevailed. When he lowered his hands and rested, Amalek and his men, who were Israel’s enemy, had the better of the battle. Moses grew weary. After all, who could hold his or her hands up for any lengthy period of time?
Fellow Israelites, Aaron and Hur, assist Moses in keeping his hands raised. Their assistance reveals that prayer is an act of the community. Perseverance in faith and prayer is not a solo venture. When we pray, it is in communion with the whole Church.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus uses the example of the widow, who time and time again went to the city magistrate to seek justice against her opponent, to teach the disciples about the need to “pray always and not to lose heart.” The only reason the judge grants the widow justice is because the widow’s persistence has exhausted him. In contrast to the slow-acting, unjust judge, God will “quickly grant justice.” The Gospel passage concludes with an appropriate question to reflect on as the weeks wind down and we near the end of the liturgical year. Will the Son of Man “find faith on earth” when he comes?
Often it is difficult to find a connection among the three readings, since the compilers of the Lectionary intentionally sought for connections to be apparent between only the First Reading and the Gospel. In this Sunday’s Second Reading, Paul encourages Timothy and his fellow believers to persist in what they have learned and believed from childhood. The theme of continuing on in the faith is an obvious connection to the persistence of both Moses and the widow. The Second Reading draws to a close with Paul solemnly charging Timothy to “be persistent” in his work of discipleship against the false teachers active in the community. Timothy should “convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching” before Christ Jesus comes again to judge the living and the dead. The “utmost patience” should govern his interactions with people as he leads them toward their salvation.
The Responsorial Psalm is a psalm of blessing for an individual in need of the Lord’s protection. The reference to mountain in the opening verse of the psalm directs us back to the experience of Moses, Aaron and Hur on the hilltop in the First Reading. Like those three men who prayed consistently for the Lord’s help, the psalmist, too, looks to the Lord “who made heaven and earth” to be his guardian and protect him from evil. When we pray the refrain, we join our voices with that of the psalmist and confess that our help comes from the Lord.
Prayer to discern God’s will always leads us to service. The unjust judge in the Gospel did not understand this. Neither did Moses’ opponents nor the false teachers in the communities to whom Paul and Timothy preached. They needed—like we do today—to have our sins “cleansed by the very mysteries we serve.” We need to be “helped by what you [the Lord] give in this present age.
WORLD MISSION SUNDAY NEXT WEEKEND
Please note that next weekend, October 22-23, 2016, parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago will be celebrating World Mission Sunday. In preparation for this celebration, please read the following letter from our Archbishop:
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
For 90 years the Church has celebrated World Mission Sunday as a way of highlighting the merciful mission of Christ that brings hope to the world. In this Jubilee of Mercy we in the Archdiocese of Chicago place Christ at the center of our communities and dream together about the renewal of our Church. We believe that as Christ sends us forward to be his missionary disciples, He will also give us what we need to renew His Church and transform the world.
This 90th celebration of World Mission will take place on October 23, which we will mark in solidarity with the countless missionaries who bring the Gospel to some of the most remote places and cultures. They need our support through prayer and our financial gifts. Your generosity enables local priests, religious, and catechists to travel to remote areas for the work of evangelization and to build churches, educate children and adults, prepare young men for the priesthood, and provide medical care through Catholic hospitals and clinics.
As we begin the Renew My Church effort in the Archdiocese of Chicago, World Mission Sunday prompts us to reflect on our priorities to be vital and mission-driven parishes. The Church’s world mission is fundamentally about bringing people to Christ, whether that is in our own neighborhoods or across the continents. We are all invited to participate in this effort. I pray that every parish will respond to this year’s World Mission Sunday by actively offering its generous stewardship and fervent prayer for missionaries and people of faith throughout the world.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Blasé J. Cupich
Archbishop of Chicago
OPEN HOUSE CHICAGO 2016
Organized by the Chicago Architectural Foundation, Open House Chicago is a free annual event that takes visitors behind-the-scenes to more than 200 great places and spaces across the city. The sixth-annual Open House will be held this weekend, October 15th and 16th. This city-wide festival is a unique, once-a-year opportunity for the public to experience Chicago’s rich architecture, culture and history by participating in self-guided explorations of the city and its diverse neighborhoods.
This year St. Peter’s will be participating in the Open House by opening our doors to those who are interested on Saturday, October 15, from 11:00-4:30 and on Sunday, October 16, from 1:30-5:00. We would welcome assistance from any volunteers on either of these dates to welcome people in the lobby, to show them the church, and to tell a bit of our history. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Carolyn Jarosz in her office on the lower level of the church or by calling her at 312-853-2376. This would be a great opportunity to meet all kinds of people and to tell them about our church and the people we serve.
BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE
Once again this year we will have a Book of Remembrance so that you may write in relatives and good friends who have died. This book will be in the rear of church from now until All Souls Day on November 2, when it will be brought up in procession to the St. Joseph altar during Solemn Vespers. The book will remain there during the entire month of November, and those who are written in the book will be remembered in the Masses celebrated at the main altar throughout November. Please be judicious in deciding the number of names you place in the book so that there will be room for others to also take advantage of this opportunity.
FALL CHURCH CLEANING
We have scheduled our fall church cleaning for Saturday, October 29, from 8:30-11:00 A.M. We have two of these special cleanings a year so that we can wash and wax the pews, clean the confessionals, wash as many of the statues as we can reach, dust the choir loft, etc. The more helpers we have on this Saturday morning, the more we will accomplish. You need not tell us beforehand that you are coming; just come in the handicap door that morning, and we will have all the materials needed. Thank you for volunteering if you can.
TO TEACH WHO CHRIST IS
I want to thank all those who have made a pledge to the To Teach Who Christ Is capital campaign. Not only will your contribution make a big difference in the lives of many students who receive scholarships to attend Catholic schools, but it also helps St. Peter’s to address our stated needs in the Case Statement. 60% of all dollars given in our name comes back to St. Peter’s.
We receive a monthly statement from the Archdiocese indicating where things stand. So far we have $21,000 in the archdiocesan bank account. I also noticed in the last statement that our donors were behind $4,500 in paying their pledge on time. I realize that many reasons can go into why that is the case, but do try to keep up with your pledge according to the timetable you have chosen so that all beneficiaries will be accommodated.
A CHUCKLE FOR YOUR PLEASURE
A woman with a minor injury was at the hospital because her doctor said she wanted to take a closer look at it to make sure everything was all right. The woman’s husband was sitting patiently in the waiting room.
After a few minutes, the doctor comes out and asks her assistant for a wrench, which understandably concerns her husband. Then, after a couple more minutes, the doctor re-enters the room, this time asking for a screwdriver. The husband grows worried and begins to pace the room in circles.
Then a little later, the doctor bursts through the doors screaming for a hammer, and at that, the husband, in a state of frenzied fear, runs up and asks, “Doctor, what the heck is wrong with my wife?”
“I don’t know,” replies the frustrated doctor. “I can’t get my bag open!”