Peace Begins & Ends with Forgiveness

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Dear POP Folks,

   As we celebrated yet again the birthday of the Savior, we are invited to remember that his coming is the watershed moment in all of history. 
 
   For believers, Jesus’ coming signals a radical shift from an emphasis on law and guilt to a new era in which we are not simply repaired, we are completely re-made.  St. Paul describes it:  Whoever is in Christ is a new creation:  the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Cor. 5:17).  St. John beheld the vision:  I saw a new heaven and a new earth… The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new” (21:1, 5).

   As we begin a new calendar year, we are called to remember the grace we have already been given:  to release the past through the decision to forgive.  We press on to the prize of eternal life, unencumbered by sin and unforgiveness, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead (Philippians 3:12).

   For those of us who have visited with family or friends over the holidays, we may have a lot to forgive before we get together and try again.

   For us here at church, we have a truckload of opportunities for which to apologize and to ask forgiveness. 

   There is the every-week stuff:  too much or too little air conditioning, not enough parking spaces up close, no paper towels in the restroom, no usher with bulletins at the door after Mass, nobody answering the phone, not enough chalices.

   Then there are more serious moments such as:  no one called me back when I volunteered or asked about a baptism or wanted communion for a sick family member.

   We are coming up on the mailing of the end-of-the-year statements, which will be followed by end-of-the-year calls to the office regarding errors in the statements.
  
   Then there were those few weeks back around September when the increased offertory campaign overlapped with the Faith Direct automatic giving change-over and some folks who had already pledged received yet another request to give.  Thus, generosity became frustration. 
  
And so:  as the year comes to an end, I apologize for these and the many other ways, great and small, that Prince of Peace has fallen short this year.
  
And I give thanks for our wonderful God, who is the Prince of Peace Himself and for the many, many wonderful people who call POP their faith home.   As we run, fly and stumble into 2014, let’s remember that peace begins and ends with forgiveness, even when forgiveness seems neither earned nor appropriate.   It is, after all, the way God does things.

Father John