Reconciliation – John Robert Lewis
When I think of the word “reconciliation” which is the charism or the gift of the message of Our Lady of La Salette, I cannot help but think of a prophetic person that embodies that Gospel value. I am referring to John Lewis, the congressman from Atlanta, Georgia, who died of cancer so recently.
As a young man he was the leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He kept up that non-violent approach as a solution to the systemic racism and violence which sadly has been a part of our Country’s history for hundreds of years. When so many insisted that only violence could overcome embedded violence, John Lewis instead chose to practice the radical teaching of Jesus, to: “Love your enemies. Do good to those who persecute you.” He put those words into bold action by being beaten several times for his Gospel beliefs and often going to jail simply for defending the dignity of the people around him.
There are so many people who call themselves Christians and yet are not faithful to this core teaching of Jesus. John Lewis was an authentic disciple of Jesus’ unconditional love, as were Martin Luther King and Father Thomas Merton. That is why John Lewis was called the “Conscience of Congress” – all of Congress, both the Republicans and the Democrats. But that took such courage and perseverance in following his ideals. I love the quote that was often attributed to him: “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
I want to quote Dianna Ortiz OSU, Director of Pax Christi USA, on her reflections on the life of John Lewis in her statement of gratitude: “I will forever remember him as someone who took the time to listen to the sufferings of the tortured. ……With few words, he calmly urged those of us who knew suffering firsthand to replace our fears with courage, our hopelessness with hope and our bottled -up rage with non-violent action. John Lewis stood for truth, compassion and love – – – everything that we yearn not just for ourselves, our families, our communities and our world, but for yesterday’s and today’s oppressors. John Lewis was Jesus in our midst.”
17th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Good brothers and sisters all,
The Father John Sullivan, M.S.
This Sunday as a Shrine we are celebrating Fr. John Sullivan’s 50th anniversary. If you see him don’t forget to congratulate him. He has poured his heart and soul into his work these many years. He has fought the good fight. He has run the race. And still keeps doing both in spite of his seventy seven years of age.
Finding dates for him to celebrate both here and at the Attleboro Shrine in Attleboro this coming October has not been easy. And because of social distancing FR. JOHN has had to keep his list of invitees to a bare minimum. And for Fr. John with his endless parade of friends this has not been easy on him. And all of this of course requires that all wear masks.
JOHN, MAY THE GOOD GOD ABOVE KEEP YOU
WITH US FOR MANY YEARS TO COME!
One of the obligations of priests is to pray for you the People of God.
Fr. John and I take this seriously.. And each day as we say Morning and Evening Prayer together, we intentionally read off three or four of you who are requesting prayers of us through the Intention Sheets located near the Candle rack at the rear of the Chapel.
Many of them are a sober reminder that many of you are hurting, deserve special loving prayers and help us to remember the burdens that so many of you carry. Oftentimes we are inspired by your persistent faith in spite of all too many hurdles to your faith. And yet you soldier on. YOU ARE TO BE PRAYED FOR AND PRAISED
Sincerely, Fr. Joe Gosselin, M.S. Shrine Superior/Treasurer
The Mystery of Forgiveness
(24th Ordinary Sunday: Sirach 27:30—28:7; Rom. 14:7-9; Matthew 18:21-35)
Today we begin with statistics. How often, I wondered, did God forgive his people, as compared to the times he punished them. It took little research to show that, in the vast majority of cases, forgiveness is either given or promised.
One of the classic texts is found in today’s Psalm: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us.”
In the first reading and the Gospel, it is clear that our starting point or, if you prefer, our default position, ought to be a readiness—dare we say eagerness?—to forgive.
During my research, however, I was struck also by the number of times forgiveness is paired with atonement. A typical example is in Leviticus 5:13: “The priest shall make atonement on the person’s behalf for the wrong committed, so that the individual may be forgiven.”
Herein lies the connection to the reading from Romans. Paul writes: “For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living,” The context for this saying is made clear in the very next sentence: “Why then do you judge your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.”
We are not lords of one another. That title belongs exclusively to Jesus. It was bestowed on him when he offered himself on the cross as atonement for our sins. As his disciples, we do not have the option to withhold forgiveness.
Part of the submission to which the Beautiful Lady of La Salette calls us is that we accept the mercy won for us by her Son. Once we do so, it will be a joy for us to honor him as he deserves.
Novelist Terry Goodkind writes, “There is magic in sincere forgiveness; in the forgiveness you give, but more so in the forgiveness you receive” (Temple of the Winds, p. 318).
Substitute the word “grace” for “magic,” and see how the text is transformed: no longer words of wisdom, but an invitation to enter into one of the great mysteries of our faith.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.
Saturday – September 12, 2020 – La Salette Association of Prayers
Sunday – September 13, 2020 – Memorial of Death Richard Crawford – Drusilla Morizzo
Monday – September 14, 2020 – Healing of Racial Divide – Judith Brownlow
Tuesday – September 15, 2020 – Personal Intentions – Viola Heath
Wednesday – September 16, 2020 – Memorial Mass Mr. Bonizzi – Diane DeGhetto Bonizzi
Thursday – September 17, 2020 – Repose of Soul Patricia Sullivan – Debra Prussman
Friday – September 18, 2020 – Healing of Prolapsed Organs – Marilyn Barbour.
There are open dates for Mass Intentions. Please let the staff know by calling the Religious Gift Shop (603-0632-4301) or by seeing either Father John or Father Joe.
La Salette Book Club
The La Salette Book Club met wearing masks and social distancing on June 4th for the first time since Covid-19 stay at home was issued! The Book club meets the first Thursday of the month from 10 to 11:30 at the shrine cafeteria. If you wish to join the group, see June Partridge or Sharon Markowitz or leave your name with Wayne in the book store.