Dealing with Sin

This weekend we open our doors to Father Bill Taylor who is no stranger to us.  We give him a warm welcome as he celebrates liturgy with us this Saturday and Sunday while Father Jim is out of town for the K of C Installation of Officers. As always, it is very good to have you with us, Father Bill!

Since I had to write two bulletin articles before I left for retreat last week, I had to slight one of them a bit due to time factors.  Because of that, I was not able to continue writing this week about handicap needs and the food pantry.  I will include one or both of them in next week's bulletin.   I encourage you, if you were not present for Mass at Saint John Paul II Parish on Labor Day weekend and, thus missed my very comprehensive column on financial matters, please either request an email copy of last week's bulletin, go directly to the website (www.stjohnpauliicc.org) and read it,  or stop by the office and request a copy.  I will ask the Office Staff to make some extra copies if there are no left over bulletins from last week.

Please mark your calendars so that you will be sure to be present for the Inaugural Liturgy of Saint John Paul II Parish with Bishop Cistone.  That celebration will take place on Saturday, September 27 at 4:00 PM and will be followed by a Reception at the Ed Center.

In this Sunday's Gospel passage, Jesus gives us a process for dealing with sin, a process for dealing with those instances in which another has done something seriously wrong to us, something that falls into the category of sin and evil.  I would like to share some thoughts from Sister Verna A. Holyhead, SGS, an Australian Sister of the Good Samaritan of the Order of Saint Benedict, from her reflection on this Gospel passage: "We all have the responsibility for the pastoral care that requires us to deal with one another's sinfulness, especially when this threatens the cohesion of the community of disciples.  The offering of forgiveness to a sister or brother is one of the painful ways that we take up our cross and follow Jesus, whether in Matthew's first‐century community or in today's church."  She goes on to say: "Jesus tells his disciples how this painful but healing process of forgiveness is to be conducted. The authority of 'binding and loosing' that was given to Peter to exercise in a particular way (Matthew 16:19) is here extended to the whole church because it is not only the leaders who must accept the responsibility for reconciliation within the community.  The model that Jesus presents to the disciples is one of 'gospel subsidiarity,' not a 'pyramid model.'  Subsidiarity means that we do not do something at a higher level when it can be done at a lower, in contrast to starting at the top of the pyramid with the highest authority.  So the first approach in reconciliation is to be between the offended and the offender.  It is the former who is to seek out the latter, in courage and loving humility, and with no intention of a judgmental confrontation, hard as this may be." As we continue to reflect on this week's Gospel, let us ask ourselves if this teaching of Jesus resonates with the way in which we handle sin and wrongdoing in others and in our faith community.  Sometimes we really do need to hold others accountable for their sinful words and actions.  And that is no easy task.  Let us pray for one another that we will love one another with the same love Christ has shown us, that we will have the courage to reach out to those who have sinned against us, and that we will have the same compassion as Christ in extending forgiveness.

Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ