To Forgive is Divine

Dear Parishioners,

Forgiveness is crucial. Forgiving is one of the greatest acts we can do. What's ironic about forgiveness is that we are the ones who benefit more than the person we forgive. We usually think it's the other way around—that the offender benefits because they reenter into our good graces.

But it is not so. We need to forgive we need it. Why? Because when we do not forgive and hold onto feelings of anger, resentment, and bitterness, we are weighed down. We swim around in our own heads as we think unpleasant thoughts and rehash the past. We all know what it is like to hold a grudge. It is not enjoyable. Even if we think the grudge is just and the offender deserves our wrath, to be upset is still not life-giving! “Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight” (Sir 27:30).

Thus the rationale behind our Lord's answer to Saint Peter. The apostle asks Jesus how many times he ought to forgive and Jesus responds, “not seven times but seventy-seven times” (Matt 18:22). Forgiveness is important for our health, for our happiness, for our holiness. The steward from the parable refused to forgive as he was forgiven. The result? The steward is “handed over to the torturers.” Again, when we do not forgive, we are not free and we are not at peace. We are tortured.

Christ came to give us freedom. He came to give us peace. That is why Christ wants us to forgive abundantly, for forgiveness is important to freedom and peace. If you struggle with forgiveness, perhaps you can try saying the Lord's Prayer, paying close attention to that line, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Tomorrow, Monday September 18th is our Parish Pastoral Council Meeting. The PPC has been very active to help our parish experience Jesus. If you would like to help get involved in some areas, like the Sunday Hospitality Ministry, please let us know!

This Tuesday, September 19th at 7pm in the chapel I will discuss the "After Life" in my Tuesday Night Theology Series. We will cover heaven, hell, and purgatory.

A reminder that on Wednesday, September 27th at 7pm in the church will be a meeting for all liturgical ministers: Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors/Commentators, Ushers, Sacristans. We will provide a theological formation for each of the particular ministries, as well as a training refresher and a recommissioning. If you are interested in becoming one of these ministers (or more), please come to this meeting. This will be your training and commissioning!

Last Thursday I celebrated the opening Mass for our SPRED program. Thank you to all who help with SPRED, and particularly to our SPRED friends who serve at Mass and add so much to our community.

I'm going to tread very carefully on this next topic...the Notre Dame-St. Pat's football game next Saturday, September 23rd. Prayers for all of our young men playing in the game. I'll be praying for you and wearing St. Juliana green. I will, however, be cheering hard for St. Juliana football to beat OLPH that day.

Yours in Christ,
Father James

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