Forgiveness Is Our Rest

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 13, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

When you get hurt playing sports or exercising, the best thing to do is rest.  I think of spraining an ankle.  If you keep running on the ankle, it won't properly heal and you'll never be playing at one hundred percent. 

Now, there are some exceptional athletes where the team is better off with the individual playing at less than one hundred percent than sitting out altogether.  But, for most of us peons where our "100%" is still not really that great, it is more advantageous to us let the injury completely heal. 

I have this image in mind when I read the line from our first reading, "Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the LORD?" (Sirach 28:3). 

We all are wounded.  We all have "sprained ankles," if you will.  It's simply part of our fallen human nature to be hurt.  Some of our injuries are not our fault: the product of our environment, family of origin, etc.  Others we are responsible for: personal sins, choices we make to do something wrong.  We need healing from these injuries.

Well, the readings tell us this weekend that healing can only come about if we forgive.  Without forgiveness, it's like us continuing to play on a sprained ankle: we just won't be at our best.  We might function, but we won't thrive.  Forgiveness is our rest; what allows the injury to heal.

There's that old quote, "Forgiveness is setting the prisoner free and discovering that you were the prisoner."  When we hold on to a grudge or to anger, we subconsciously believe that who we are is ruined.  We've been hurt and there is an open wound, and the wound is a mark against us.  If we can't forgive, which means letting go of the wound, then the wound remains open and has not yet begun to heal.  When we do forgive, however, we accept that, yes, we have the wound, but the wound doesn't make us unlovable and we are still beautiful in God's eyes.  Then the healing has begun.

The debtor in our Lord's parable has acted out of his injury.  He was irresponsible and dishonest with his master because of some wound.  Well, the debtor has not addressed the issue and forgiven whoever/whatever caused him to act this way.  This is why the debtor, after being pardoned, turns around and acts sinfully yet again, this time with his fellow servants. 

Where are you wounded?  Who do you need to forgive?  May God give us the grace to do so and be set free.

This weekend is the 2020 Good Friday Pontifical Collection for Christians in the Holy Land.  This was supposed to happen this past spring, but obviously was postponed because of Covid.  Please mark a special envelop with your donation as "Holy Land Collection" or "Good Friday Collection."

This Sunday, September 13th is our rescheduled Sacrament of Confirmation for school and RE students.  Congratulations Confirmandi and sponsors and families!  Our RCIA candidates who would have been received into the church at the Easter Vigil this past spring will receive their sacraments on Wednesday, September 23rd.  Congratulations to these individuals and their families, and thank you, Fr. Emanuel, who worked with the group.

Tomorrow, Monday, we resume our Monday Evenings of Prayer, which includes Eucharistic Adoration from 6-8pm, Confessions in the sacristy from 6:30-7:30pm, and a talk on prayer at 7:30pm. 

The Saint Juliana Parish Book Club is returning.  We never had a chance to meet to discuss two of our books: The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene and A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. If you are interested in being part of the discussion, could you please email me, along with your preference for in-person or Zoom?  Our next book will be A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.  Date to discuss TBD. 

Yours in Christ,

Fr. James


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