Can you spare three minutes to read this page before discarding it?
Not long ago, the Pope conducted a service of public apology for anyone harmed in the name of the Church by its "sons and daughters." What he did was nothing more than practice Jesus’ teaching that we must be reconciled before we return to the altar (Matthew 5: 23-24).
The Church that Jesus established is Christ's living and divine body. But this divine living body is also made out of us, all very imperfect creatures. We may have caused you and others disillusionment and pain, to the point that some Catholics have abandoned the Sacraments and this baptismal Community spread in our very immediate neighborhood.
These hurts may have come from any one, and that certainly includes me by my actions or inaction towards you or your relatives and friends. Not everything did go correctly during the last 24 years of our daily rubbing elbows with each other.
Today, as Pastor of St. Christopher, l write to you and our St. Christopher community joins me to says: “I am sorry."
Can we give each other new opportunities to fix crumbling or crumbled bridges.
This season of Lent is my and our best time to seek forgiveness from you – a time for all to return to Confession and Communion, to seek and exercise reconciliation and, as prodigal children, get hugged by our Father in Heaven. When we forgive and are forgiven, we become healed, regain peace and new energy to reconstruct the links of Christ’s mystical Body, to savor Jesus’ greeting of Easter peace, for all of us to be once more a real ‘Church Alive.’ Can we count on you too?
Now, can you go one step further and invest the next two minutes to read these two short stories?
Did you hear about Jim, a character from an old radio show? Jim, his wife and two kids had always been a happily family. But, one day, he had arranged for a woman co-worker to pick him up and go to consummate an ‘affair’. While waiting, Jim stared at his neighbors’ houses and thought of all those acquaintances living in his quiet street. He began to think:” We all depend on each other. Although my sin could be secret, it would eventually be no more secret than an earthquake. My infidelity will somehow shake them. It will pollute our drinking water. Noxious gases will come out of the ventilators in that elementary school…..If I go and sin with this woman, somehow a school crossing guard will forget to look both ways at that intersection, and someone’s child may be injured. A sixth grade teacher will think, ‘What the hell,’ and eliminate South America from geography class. The Pastor will decide, ‘What the heck, I’m not going to give that sermon on the poor people.’ Somehow my adultery will cause in our grocery store to say, ’To hell with the health department, this sausage was good yesterday, it can’t be any worse today.’ Yes,…We depend on each other more than we ever know.” Jim then decided to stay home- to “call off sick”- but he was different, more whole than he was before. So was his marriage, his family, and his community. One person’s integrity as well as selfishness can have far-reaching public repercussions.
Sin rarely remains private. Doesn’t it seem that even today, many people must have said, “What the hell, I’m going to…”
Wanna bet? All of us make bets. We are mostly correct by betting that we're going to wake up tomorrow. But, one day we will lose that bet. Pascal, a famous mathematician, responded by defining the Probability Theory and the use of Statistics as a math discipline. One day he applied this mathematical theory to choosing a religion. There were many new Christian religions springing up at the time, and each of them offered different approaches to God, Judgment, and Salvation. Pascal decided that the safest bet was to remain Catholic by reasoning as follows: "The Catholic Church has been around longer than all the other denominations. So it has a unique link with the first Pope and the Apostles, and through them, to Jesus who can forgive sins. They have the greatest historical authority. If there is a God, He has guided them through more than fifteen centuries. Therefore, that Church is statistically likely to have the support from God, if there is one, necessary to sustain it. That Church provides Sacraments, which bring believers closer to God. The closer to God I am, the more likely it is that my soul, if I have one, will know eternal joy in Heaven, if it exists." Next, Pascal made stated: "The thing to consider is the size of the reward versus the cost of gaining it. If there were a lottery with all the money in the world, I can see that it would be stupid not to buy a ticket. So, spending one hour at Mass each week is a small price to pay for a ticket that appears to have a very good chance of winning the greatest prize of all. Besides, even if there is no Heaven, obeying the teachings of the Church will make me a better person. If there is a Heaven, and obeying those teachings gets me there, I will win two prizes, either of which is more than worth the price of the ticket."
Is anyone thinking that we are smarter than Blaise Pascal. Wanna bet?
Well, the three minutes are over. I bet I can look forward to you joining me in my Easter Confession and Communion and seriously rejoin your baptismal community while betting that tomorrow we will wake up. After that, well, "Nothing is Impossible with God,"
I am gratefully yours,
See if the following list is of interest to you:
§ I have moved recently into this area.
§ I would like to learn more about the Catholic Faith.
§ I want to validate my marriage, get my annulment,…
§ I would like to discuss some special topics with you, Father.
§ I am interested in joining St. Christopher’s parish as a member.
§ I want to return to the Catholic Church, receive the Sacraments.
§ I would like to be more involved/help in Church activities, projects.
§ I want to prepare my children for the sacraments & Sunday school.
§ I need help in tutoring my children in the Faith.
§ I spend the winter away from….until….
§ I am a shut-in.
§ I am going to the hospital.
§ I have a special prayer request.
§ Please, come to bless my house…
§ Other [describe]…………………………………………………………
My name [print]…………………………………………………………………
Address …………………………………………………….ph: …………
I remain gratefully yours, Fr. Matthew Tosello, Ph. D., Pastor.
[To our non-Catholic Christian neighbors, sorry for our unintended intrusion in your mail-box. US Saturation mailing’ has its rules