Parish Mission

We are in the middle of our parish mission at the Catholic Community of Pleasanton. Click here for their website. Our theme has been the powerful story from Sunday's Gospel (Cycle A) about the encounter of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. It was an encounter that never should have happened. There were all sorts of religious, moral and political borders in place that should have prevented Jesus and this woman from having contact, much less a meaningful dialog. And yet in their crossing the borders that separated them, Jew and Samaritan, man and woman, they discovered living water.

So, at the mission, we've been exploring the borders we might need to cross to encounter God and find living water and how many times God is waiting for us outside the comfort zone within our borders and how we often encounter God when we encounter others outside our normal boundaries, just like Jesus and disciples did in the unlikely place of Samaria.

Yesterday we were blessed to have Fr. John Felago, MM with us. He shared his experiences living in the Middle East and how in his encounters with Arab Muslims he learned about solidarity and in experiencing Islam, he was able to deepen his own faith and understanding of God. He showed a great video, Mosque, that generated interesting discussion about the similarities and differences between Christianity and Islam.

Today in the Gospel, Peter asked Jesus how many times we must forgive someone who wronged us. Seven times seventy he told him. Seems like an awful lot. But as Fr. Bill Boteler, MM shared today, Jesus' concern may have been more for the victim of the wrong than the offender. What happens to us when we don't forgive?

We can do more damage to ourselves than the person who hurt us in the first place. Often times the greatest and most challenging borders we face are the walls of hurt we create to protect ourselves from harm. Inside those walls, anger can turn to resentment, a craving for revenge, that begin to eat away at us like a cancer. It can cause our hearts to dry up and turn to stone. It can keep us from from the living waters of God's love and grace.

Lent is our time to examine those hurts in our lives, those times we've been wronged, to think about people who have hurt us, done us wrong, treated us unfairly, or unjustly. Have we forgiven them? What's keeping that from happening?

God wants to help us let go of the hurt, the pain, to help move us to forgiveness.

Let us pray...

Lord Jesus,
in becoming human, you became vulnerable,
you experienced pain
you know what it's like to be betrayed by a good friend
you know what it's like to misunderstood,
to be ridiculed, to be mocked, to be made fun of
you were insulted
you were assaulted,
you were tortured
you even had your life taken from you in utter humiliation.

And yet even as you were suffering
excruciating pain and dying on the cross
you forgave.
Send your spirit into our broken hearts,
our wounded hearts,
our hearts that have grown dry and withered.
Ease the pain,
lessen the anger,
quench the desire for revenge
break down the barriers
let your love gush in like raging waters
living water, healing water
help us to forgive
over and over again.


Fr. Bill was a pastor in El Salvador and worked with the people to rebuild a community following the civil war there. He gave a great presentation of what solidarity means and how we can encounter God through our relationships with others, at home, in our parishes, in our neighborhoods and in the world.

He'll be giving the presentation again tonight at 6:45 pm at :
St. Elizabeth Seton
4001 Stoneridge Drive, two blocks off of Santa Rita Road
Pleasanton, CA

Come and join us!
Peace, Matt