Called Forth into the Joyous Easter Season!

April 13, 2023
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,
Divine Mercy Sunday is an opportunity for us to receive forgiveness and reflect on the power of Christ.  I have been participating in the 40-day challenge as part of the School of Discipleship which is a part of the formation for our Synod Evangelization Team. We watched a video recently where Jeff Cavins spoke to us about the freedom of forgiveness and it resonated with me. He spoke about how we are to not rehearse offenses, curse them, or nurse them. Forgiveness is releasing someone who has hurt us.

Sometimes we are triggered to go back to past offenses that we have suffered and replay in our mind the pain and hurt that we received. That causes us to hold grudges or hold resentment against another. It is not helpful to hold on to that memory when we just replay it and allow the resentment to deepen. Rather it keeps us captive and the grudge grows which limits our ability to engage in relationships with others. Once we forgive someone we should move on.

Secondly, we should not curse the offense and share it with others by gossiping about the offender. We sometimes are drawn to that as a way of getting even or leveling up to them. We should not continue to bring up the offense once we have forgiven them. 

Finally, do not nurse it. Do not try to think, “I can not believe they…” or “I should have…”. Leave it alone and move on. Jesus is the model of forgiveness. We see Him forgive on the cross not because the soldiers deserved it but out of love for them. He forgives them and moves on to complete His mission of redeeming the world.

We are invited not to rehearse, curse, or nurse offenses against us. Rather as disciples, we are invited to forgive as Christ did and live like our Teacher and Savior.

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, reflect on your attitude towards forgiveness. May we follow the example of Christ, and fulfill the words of the Our Father when we pray, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We are all affected by sin and the more we cling to unforgiveness, the more we allow the enemy to keep our attention off the presence and love of God.

Easter Reflections
We had a beautiful Triduum. I am grateful to Lee Treml, our Director of Worship, and all those who assisted in making the liturgies so beautiful—from the decorations to the music to the liturgical ministers, it was truly a team effort! We had 2500 people join us for our Easter Masses, which continues our upward trend of the last few years.

We also had our largest turnout ever for the Easter Egg Hunt and Basket Blessing. Thank you to Jen Livermont, our Coordinator of Discipleship for Families, and all those who helped with that event as it was a great way to call people forth at SJB and invite them to more powerful events at SJB!  We pray that all those who attended will be drawn back to SJB and take the next step on their journey to holiness.

As the Father loves me, so I also love you,
Father Paul Shovelain