A Letter from Fr. Paul - April 29, 2018
Ministry opportunity: it has been shared various times that we are moving to Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a Montessori based program, for religious education, starting with K-3 and K-4 this coming year. If we are to have part of the program here at Pius as we move into the future, we need volunteers who are willing to be trained and help operate the program. There will be a training session at Christ King June 11-16 this year. More information will be available at a parent meeting here at Pius in the cafeteria on Wednesday evening, May 9th, at 6:30. Please prayerfully consider attending this meeting and possibly attending the June training session. All of us can support this endeavor with our prayers.
Congratulations to our children who receive their First Communion at the 10:15 Mass this weekend. May nourishing your spirit frequently by receiving the Eucharist always be important to you! We accompany you with our prayers and example.
This fifth Sunday of Easter I would like to look at our reading from the Acts of the Apostles. Saul, notorious for persecuting Christians, shows up in Jerusalem as Paul, preaching Jesus crucified just as fervently as he had been persecuting Christians earlier. Surprise: the Christians were afraid of him and did not trust him! It took Barnabas interceding on Paul’s behalf and explaining what had happened for them to begin to accept and trust Paul.
One message that we can take from this is that we have to be open-minded, open to the reality that people grow and change. Often we form an opinion from one bad experience, or from something we heard, or from a stereotype/prejudice in our culture. If that opinion is set in stone, we are closed off to the grace of God working both in the other person and in ourselves. Imagine what the Christian community would have lost if Paul had never been accepted but rather locked into the stereotype of “the persecutor Saul.”
I am struck by how frequently people lock onto a couple faults or imperfections of a person and then close their minds to the possibility that the person can do anything well. Sometimes character assassination through gossip or social media follows. The result is that the goodness that God has placed in that person is blocked, not only to the one with the negative perception but also to those receiving the gossip or social media postings. This character assassination is a sin against the person being cut down; it also blocks the goodness that God wants that person to bring to the world around them.
I invite us this week to reflect on our use of our tongues and social media: are we being kind, forgiving, peace-sowers? Or are we cutting down, damaging, discord-sowers? Is there one particular situation in which improvement is needed? And let us support each other in prayer, as we strive to bring Christ’s compassion, forgiveness, and peace to our world.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS
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