Pastor's Column, Sunday, September 13, 2020

Submitted by St. Mary on Fri, 09/11/2020 - 12:38pm

Dear Parishioner:

God’s Mercy: hope for all…as long as we are willing to do the work of receiving it!

The gospel passage for this weekend certainly emphasizes the extent to which Christ expects us to go, in our willingness to extend mercy and forgiveness to our neighbor. It implies that there is no sin that is beyond forgiveness. In figurative language, there is no limit to mercy’s reach.

I believe it is vital, however, that we also recognize that there is quite a difference between forgiving a sin and excusing sin, whether applied to self or to another. Excuses are no substitute for repentance. Let us consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Paragraph 1430: Jesus' call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before Him, does not aim first at outward works, 'sackcloth and ashes, ' fasting and mortification, but at the CONVERSION OF THE HEART, INTERIOR CONVERSION. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance.

Paragraph 1431: Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one's life, with hope in God's mercy and trust in the help of His grace (underlining added).

There can be little doubt that until we are fully committed to placing Jesus on the throne of our hearts and in our households, then no matter who occupies the seats of power in our country and our world, the results for the true advancement of human life will be tenuous at best. What can we do? How do we demonstrate to God we believe in the power of His mercy? Here is an announcement, from Acts XXIX, an evangelization initiative based in Detroit.

Inspired by the example of Abraham Lincoln… who, at the urging of both houses of Congress, three times called the entire nation to fast and pray, all men and women of good will are invited on September 24, 2020, to fast and pray for God’s mercy on our land in these tumultuous days and the healing and conversion of our hearts.

“Whereas it is fit and becoming in all people, at all times, to acknowledge and revere the Supreme Government of God; to bow in humble submission to his chastisements; to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and to pray with all fervency and contrition, for the pardon of their past offenses, and for a blessing upon their present and prosperous action… “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. “BUT WE HAVE FORGOTTEN GOD!”

“We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

“It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness...

More to come…              

                                      Fr. Stephen

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