A Letter from Fr. Paul - May 5, 2019
Congratulations to our teens who received Confirmation on May 2nd and our children who receive their First Holy Communion this Sunday, May 5th. May this day always be a special one in your lives. Thank you to the parents and catechists who have helped our young members to arrive at this point in their faith journey!
In the Catholic Herald edition for April 25, there is a wonderful article about our Wauwatosa Catholic School community serving a Lenten meal to the community at large. It was a good lesson for our children that Lent invites us to grow in our service to others. I thank our principal, Lori Suarez, who took the initiative with this project, as well as all those who supported it in any way.
Our Gospel this weekend, the very end of John’s Gospel, is the story of Jesus’ appearance to his disciples on the shore of Lake Tiberius. I did a lot of reflecting on this story while eating in silence during my novitiate year (1964) in Colfax, Iowa, because a mural depicting the scene had been painted by a Salvatorian brother on one whole wall of our dining room. I was struck by the look of kindness and peace on the face of Jesus.
If my friends had done to me what the disciples had done to Jesus, I don’t think I would have been able to interact with them as Jesus did. Notice there is no recrimination of Peter, no demand for an apology, no bringing up the past. Jesus simply looks to the future, invites love and commitment, and gives the apostles their mission: feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep. At His first appearance to them, which we listened to last Sunday, He gave them the mission of forgiveness and reconciliation; in this appearance, He is modeling for them (and us), through His detailed interaction with Peter, how to be forgiving.
Sometimes our sense of “justice” can blind us to the forgiveness and mercy that Jesus modeled for us. “Yes, I’ll forgive, but they have to apologize first.” “I’ll forgive but I won’t forget.” Etc. Etc.
It is hard for us to be truly merciful. I think Jesus knew that and so He gave us this wonderful example of how to do it. Are we growing in our ability to be forgiving and merciful? Is there a particular person I need to forgive? How can I do it? As we reflect on these questions this
week, let us support each other in prayer as we all strive to be merciful and forgiving.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS
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