The Pastor's Column

Fr. Lara's Lines

Repentance and Forgiveness


Forgiveness is one of the most difficult virtues to practice. We often talk about forgiveness; but when we face a chance to forgive others, we tend to justify our anger or resentment. It is a relief when we are forgiven, but it is not easy to forgive. In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus teaches us repentance and forgiveness. Let us take a closer look at how repentance and forgiveness work.

“There will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10

Repentance is recognizing our wrongdoing and desiring to amend our actions. It is experiencing a change of mind or heart to restore what has been damaged. We can regret doing something because the outcome wasn’t what we expected, but repentance is more than regret. To repent is to be truly sorry for what we have done. When we celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we come before God with a sorrowful heart. The Sacrament of Reconciliation asks us to know what is right and wrong so that we can recognize our shortcomings before the Lord. There are many things we are not proud of. Is there anything you need to repent of? Reconciling with our neighbors would lift the guilt we carry with us. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the perfect way to repent of our sins.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 16:14

Forgiveness is the act of pardoning others for their actions. When we forgive we don’t let hard feelings dwell in our hearts and minds. So forgiveness is letting things go. Forgiveness comes in a variety of ways in our daily lives. For instance, when someone accidentally harms you, it is easy to forgive because it wasn’t the person’s fault even though the action wasn’t right. It is easy to forgive something that happened by accident. It gets a little harder to forgive a person who intended to do something wrong. But if the person has repented for the actions, taken full responsibility, and asked for forgiveness, it is necessary to accept the apology and forgive the wrongdoing. There is still another instance when the person doesn’t even acknowledge the wrongdoing. In this case it might seem almost impossible to forgive. When there is no repentance, we need help from God to let go of the things that might take the peace of our hearts away. Jesus is the perfect example of forgiveness. He forgave people who repented of their sins and he forgave even those who did not repent. At the cross, he prayed, “Forgive them, Father, for they not know what they are doing.”

Through the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus teaches us the importance of repentance and forgiveness. It is important to ask for forgiveness for our wrongdoings, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And it is equally important to forgive others just as our Father forgives us. This is one of the most difficult virtues to practice but it is possible with the help of God.

Parish Life
The SCL parish picnic was a success, even with the rain. A huge thank-you to everyone who worked tirelessly to make this event possible. Everyone had a great time and enjoyed the variety of food prepared by parishioners. This picnic is a sign of unity and of a healthy parish life. Your work and participation during these events make this parish a more unified community of believers.

I am happy to announce that we will continue to be a “Teaching Parish.” The Tolton Teaching Parish Program (TTPP) is a seminary program in which a committee of parishioners partners with Mundelein seminary in the formation of seminarians. Our parish committee has been great at giving input to the seminary formators. This will surely help to improve the pastoral formation of our future priests. Three seminarians will be coming to the parish weekly, starting at the end of the month:

Elliot Zak from the Diocese of Lafayette returns in his 3rd year of theology.
Matthew Ockinga from the Diocese of Yakima returns in his 2nd year of theology.
Christopher Epplett from the Diocese of Grand Rapids joins us in his 1st year of theology.