St. Ailbe Catholic Church of Chicago

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Rejoice and Be Glad!

Third Sunday of Lent

Rejoice and Be Glad!

Rejoice always! Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Our second reading today from Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians begins with this uplifting and encouraging message. It encourages us to not quench the Spirit, nor despise prophetic utterances.Test everything: retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil.” 

So too, Isaiah in the first reading speaks of the spirit of the Lord God being upon him, the very passage Jesus will appropriate as his own Mission statement.

All this Good News is what John the Baptist comes to give testimony to. No, it is not about him, but all about the one who is to come, who he is called to proclaim and give witness to.

So what about us, as we get ready for the Christmas celebration? No, the cause for rejoicing is not about us, but about the one who has come to set us free! This is the reason to REJOICE AND BE GLAD!

Prepare The Way Of The Lord!

Second Sunday of Advent

Prepare The Way Of The Lord!

Which way are you travelling? Do you know where you are going? What is your goal, your journey’s destination? In these busy days, we are all moving in many directions. But where is all the activity taking us? The Season of Advent is upon us, but Christmas seems to be the focus.

The message of the Scriptures is direct: Prepare the way of the Lord! Our task  make a straight path for his coming into our lives!

We celebrate the coming of Christ in history, mystery and majesty. Yes, we recall the events of the Incarnation two thousand years ago, and look forward to His future coming. But right here, right now, He is coming into our lives. Our challenge is to prepare a way, a place, a focus, that Christ Jesus may more fully be the center of our lives, the center of our joy! Week Two: Take Time to Prepare The Way!

Come, Lord Jesus

First Sunday of Advent

Be Watchful! Be Alert!

Advent! A New time. A new Season. As Catholic Christians, we begin the New Year early, as we take time to prepare for Christ’s coming: Emmanuel: God With Us!

In our culture, this is a busy time. Many have already begun getting ready for the “Holiday Season.” We, too, see this as a time to prepare, get ready, but ready in a more holistic way!

The Scriptures today point to the end of time, the Second Coming of Christ. The mood they set is one of watchfulness and vigilance, not fear or tension.

During this season we actually celebrate the three comings of Christ: IN HISTORY… the Incarnation two thousand years ago; IN MYSTERY… the presence of Christ coming into our lives at this time and place; and IN MAJESTY… at the end of time!

This is a season for refocusing, for setting new directions. This is a graced opportunity, an opportunity which will be missed if we let tasks and holiday activities sweep us away in a whirlwind of business. Make time for Advent! 


When Did We See You In Need?

Feast of Christ the King – November 26th, 2017

When Did We See You In Need?

Jesus Christ is King!

What does that mean for all of us? What is our concept of King? On this last Sunday of the Church Liturgical Year, we celebrate the Feast of Christ Jesus as Universal King. For Chris-tians who profess to making Christ the center of our lives, calling Jesus “King” is not a radical concept. The question remains, though, about what this calls us to do, how it calls us to live day by day.The answer about how we are to live is found in the Gospel story today of the Last Judgment. All of humanity is separated into two groups. Those on the right go off to eternal glory, those on the left to eternal misery and shame. How did the victorious achieve glory for themselves? Quite simply, Jesus says, by living for others. “Whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it for me!” The challenge of responding to and meeting one another’s needs is our path to salvation and glory! Look out for one another’s needs!

Give More Than You Receive!

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – November 19, 2017

Give More Than You Receive!

How productive are you? How industrious and creative are you? We would all like to think that we get high marks in all these categories.The parable of the three servants Jesus tells to-day in our Gospel reading causes us to take a second look. The Story is familiar: one received five thousand, one two thousand and the third one thousand. Two doubled what they were given, the third buried the money in the ground and gave it back untouched!What is the message for us? It’s not about winning or losing, or making the most money. It’s about using our gifts  our time, talent and treasure for the building up of God’s Kingdom. It’s about overcoming the fear of failure, being willing to take risks for the right reasons, extending ourselves for the sake of others. In this way, the treasures of God’s grace will be multiplied by our faithful service!

Stay Awake and Be Ready!

Stay Awake! Be Ready!

Have you ever been caught short? Caught offguard, Caught unprepared? We can all probably yes to these questions at one time or another. We have also learned, often the hard way, of the consequences.Jesus today tells a parable that speaks of readiness, preparedness, vigilance, and responsibility. The words that Matthew uses to describe the two different groups of virgins who were given a task (foolish and wise) gives us a clue to the outcome of the story. Those who were ready fulfilled their responsibility and were welcomed to the feast. Those who were unprepared found themselves locked out in the cold!You might wonder about the wise virgins, and why they didn’t share some of their oil. The point of the story is that there are some things you just can’t share, some responsibilities people must take on themselves. You can’t rely on your mother’s faith to get you into the Kingdom.

YOU have to be awake and ready! Like the wise Virgins who prepared and were ready for the Wedding Banquet, so we are called to constantly Stay Awake and Be Ready!

The Greatest Must Be Your Servant!

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 5, 2017

Celebrating 125 Years of Service!

The Greatest Must Be Your Servant!

Who is the Greatest? Who is the most Important? Who is the most… The questions go on and on. We often find ourselves jockeying for position, either wittingly or unwittingly. We don’t want to lose out, to go unrecognized, to be left out in the cold!In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks of the importance of practicing what you preach, unlike the scribes and Pharisees, who had much to say about what should be done but did little about it. Yes, appearances are deceiving. Yes, actions speak louder than words.So how do you achieve greatness? By looking not in your direction, but in the direction of those in need, and responding in any way you can to meet the need. “The greatest among you must be your servant.” In the end, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted!” 

As we celebrate this Weekend our 125th Anniversary as a Parish Family, we are challenged to continue our amazing legacy of service to our Church and Community!

What Belongs To God?

29th Sunday In Ordinary Time

What Belongs To God?

Church and State, Sacred and Secular, Religious and Profane, Divine Right of Kings, Religious Freedom… human history is replete with the ongoing discussions and battles, and very much so in our own day, in politics and social discourse!
The question is brought to Jesus in today’s Gospel by the Pharisees and the Herodians, not to gain wisdom but disingenuously to trap him and discredit him. Jesus answers the question simply, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s!”
As you look out over the landscape of our city pictured on the cover of the Bulletin, what would you say belongs to God? Just the lake and sky, or churches marked by the towers protruding the skyline? Or is it everything you see? What are the implications of your answer?
We see our faith as wholistic. Everything ultimately comes from God. How does this call us to live? What does it mean to be a faithful steward of God’s Creation? We pray, reflect and share with one another the challenge: to enhance human life with the divine life we have been given, building up God’s Kingdom!

How Do You Love?

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

How Do You Love?

What’s Love got to do with it? These words call to mind a popular song, and also point to the question posed to Jesus about what’s most important. The response of Jesus: LOVE’S GOT EVERYTHING TO DO WITH IT!
In today’s readings we have a treasure trove of wisdom and a challenge to conventional thinking and acting. The reading from Exodus reminds us of how quickly we forget who we are and where we came from.
In today’s Gospel Jesus is confronted by a lawyer from the Pharisees, a prominent group of lay leaders. He thinks he will trap Jesus with the question: “Which of the commandments is the greatest in the law?” At that time, the Mosaic Law included 613 commandments, 365 prohibitions (one for each day of the year), and 268 prescriptions (one for each bone in the body). The answer Jesus gives is simple and succinct: “You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Enough said!

Many Are Called Few Are Chosen

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 15, 2017

Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen!

Doesn’t this sound like some kind of trap, or trick? If you are called, are you not also chosen?

Today’s parable, like others we have been hearing from week to week, are about God’s Kingdom. Yes, we believe that all receive the invitation to be a part of God’s Kingdom and join in the heavenly banquet.

The parable describes the choices we make. Some were busy about other things. Others did not think the invitation was all that important. They discover ultimately the consequences of their choices. Others will receive the invitation they refused, and they will be locked out.

Then there is the matter of the “newly invited guest” from off the street who is found to not be properly dressed. What does this mean? Precisely that it is not enough to just accept the invitation. You have to do something to prepare yourself to join the heavenly banquet!

We join today in the heavenly banquet as we are invited to the altar. Are we prepared?

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