A decade ago, Fr Jason Boatswain and some of his fellow priests, who were at that time seminarians, were welcomed into the Tortuga parish for the Annual Lenten Mission. His return on March 2019 and teachings in different communities in the parish on the theme Be Reconciled to God were transforming (Rom 5:10 and Col 1:20-22).
God’s purpose for us is to be ministers of reconciliation and His ambassadors. Sin, he said, estranged us from God but reconciliation restores right relationships with God, others, nature and ourselves, and a necessary part of reconciliation is forgiveness. In absence of forgiveness, we become passive aggressors who refuse to confront the pain of the injustice. In forgiveness, dignity is restored to everyone, Father Jason commented.
He made reference to the parable of the Prodigal Son in which the older son is the antithesis of the father. He is angry, proud and self-righteous while the father is merciful and loving to the son who was once lost to him.
The most difficult hurt to forgive is sometimes the hurt experienced from loved ones. Infinite forgiveness however, is at the heart of Christian life. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the penitent’s dignity is maintained as the grace to forgive and heal are present. Through baptism, we are made a new creation and whenever we sin, we are renewed by reconciling through the crucified Christ. The Holy Spirit continues the reconciliation that Jesus started.
So what do the ambassadors for peace look like? “They resemble Christ, the Anointed One and are his witnesses and messengers who build harmony and accompany others on the journey.” Peacemakers must offer the word, and testify about God’s goodness and be intercessors—they are children of God in this troubled world.
During the course of the Lenten mission between March 12 to 15, which included a night outdoors, Fr Boatswain told the congregation that peace is the “shalom of God” and is everything good that He gives to us. By passing on the faith, we form and shape the next generation after the mind of God and eradicate the present culture of revenge and violence.
He added that there is an urgency for reconciliation, especially in marriages and we must be men and women of reconciliation and peace.
Shalom to all God’s people.