Dear parishioners and friends of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish,
Today the Church gives us the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time. These times are anything BUT ordinary, one could rightfully say! We name this time “Ordinary” because it is not Advent, not Christmas, not Lent, not the Triduum, and not Easter, the other liturgical seasons of the year. Our Gospel offers us the familiar image of the Kingdom of God being like a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds, which springs up to become the largest of plants. May this image help us in the coming days and weeks as our society reopens as the pandemic winds down and we can begin to initiate and build a “new” normal and not be satisfied with returning to a past which limits our freedom and creativity.
At the time of this writing, we in Chicago and Illinois will be entering “Phase 5” on June 11 (coincidentally the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!) which will remove just about all restrictions that have been put in place during this worldwide pandemic. The civil government has reserved some restrictions, i.e., masks still required in some facilities and public transportation, for continued protection. How this will be lived out in our parish and local community remains to be seen. It certainly is a moment to be joyful, as more and more people are vaccinated, and less people are becoming ill or losing their life to the virus. The virus has not gone away, and we are blessed to have this vaccine saving lives.
It will be helpful to remember that not all of us will be ready to reconnect with the parish or neighborhood community at the same time. Perhaps if you know someone who might appreciate your reaching out, may the Spirit give you the strength and good timing to check in with a fellow parishioner or neighbor who would enjoy your effort to make the connection. We all experienced the lockdown last year at the same time, but reentry to a “new” normal will be at each own’s pace and let us be comfortable in giving others the benefit of the doubt as we each adjust to this new chapter. May our faith and the Sacraments support us in our continued journey and may we all be blessed with good health in mind and body.
And finally, to look a little ahead, we will have just one Mass at 10:00am on Sunday, June 27 and it will be my farewell Mass with some hospitality together after Mass. I hope you can join us!