The Jealous Pearl | 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Whoever is in Christ is a new creation.

What else does this mean except that in Jesus, because of Jesus, with Jesus…everything is
different. That it is possible to live a life without fear, without condemnation, without judgment,
without anxiety.

This is the truth that underpins the entire Christian worldview. Why does the Church teach
_____? Because she believes that in Christ, everything is different and is new. And yet, so many
of us – myself included – have used the person of Jesus or certain lines in the Gospels to justify
the very things that Jesus came to eradicate from the face of earth. I look around sometimes at
the state of things, at certain personalities in the Church and in the world, and I think, “this
cannot be what God had in mind.”

So I have this hunger, which manifests itself in teaching and learning, to steep myself in what
God is proposing to the world through the Church, through my ministry as his priest, through our
community here that spreads far and wide and deep into our city and beyond.
But you have to let yourself and your worldview be changed, which comes often through
suffering. If there is no peace, or there is no joy, ask yourself: where is the reservation in my


Remember all those months ago when I promised I wasn’t leaving? Well I’m afraid I have to tell
you something. “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called
according to his purpose.”

If you are called to it, priesthood is the most amazing life you can imagine. And one of the things
about my life that I believe to my core is that I am called to the priesthood. But a person’s
vocation, much like a person’s Volkswagen, needs to be maintained and taken care of. In the last
five years…I’ve been assigned to three parishes, each one wildly different from the next; I
finished a third Master’s Degree, I’ve taught graduate courses at Mundelein Seminary, I’ve been
chaplain and eventually Headmaster of a high school, I’ve been secretary of the Presbyteral
Council and represented my age cohort on the Priest Personnel Board, helped to plan the
bishop’s installation, oversaw the renovation of the Cathedral sacristy, and have had the true
honor of listening to, walking with, marrying, burying, baptizing, counseling, and just being with
literally thousands of people.

In my humanity, I used to think all those things were the treasure in the field; those things were
the pearls. The Cathedral was the pearl; black ministry at Sacred Heart in Joliet was the pearl;
Naperville was the pearl; Chesterton was the pearl.

Jesus the pearl, and he & I need some time together.

So, with the support of Bishop Hicks I’ll be taking a slower course for the next couple of months
and I won’t be around as much. Please don’t worry: I’m not in trouble, I’m not leaving the
priesthood, and I very much intend to be present to you at Ss. Peter and Paul for as long as that is

Please pray for me, and know how grateful I am for the love this parish shows to its priests.
Today I want to encourage you.
Remember that “It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you
when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He
who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He
who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most
genuine choices.” (Pope St. John Paul II

Leave a Comment