Pastor’s Weekly Message 2-20-22

Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
In the Gospel today Jesus lays out crucial tenants of what it means to be a Christian, a follower of Christ. The instruction to love one’s enemies and bless those who curse you would have been completely foreign to the people of Jesus’ time, and remains one of the greatest challenges presented by our faith today. Everything in our human nature cries out to protect ourselves and our tribe, not to leave ourselves vulnerable. We are geared for survival and survival seems to require that we prioritize ourselves above everything else.
Viktor Frankl was a Jewish Austrian psychiatrist imprisoned in the Nazi death camps. After his liberation he wrote extensively about his experience. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl wrote, “the last of human freedoms is the ability to choose one’s attitude to a given set of circumstances.” Even the inhumanity of the death camps could not strip this last freedom from Frankl and his fellow survivors.  When Jesus tells us to love, not hate, to bless, not curse, to be generous, not demanding, to be compassionate, not self-centered He is setting us on a path to joy and freedom.  
Jesus tells us to stop judging, to stop condemning, to forgive, and to give generously. All these things will certainly benefit those in our lives, but their greatest benefit is to ourselves. Hate and condemnation are poisons drunk more by the hater than the hated. When our hearts are hardened by judgement we become prisoners of our own negativity, unable to be experience the joy and love our loving God wishes to pour over us in great measure. We have the greatest example of mercy and compassion from our Savior Jesus Christ who forgave his executioners from the Cross. Such a great gesture may not be required of us, but every time we choose to love instead of hate, to forgive instead of condemn I believe we come a little closer to our loving God, and our hearts becomes a little lighter and freer.
I wish you and your loved ones continued blessings of good health, new freedom and great peace,

Fr. Paul

Please take a moment to read our Carmel Mission Weekly Bulletin.

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