for Sunday, September 11, 2011
Do I always forgive others? This is today's challenge from our readings.
Or do I forgive some who offend me and not others? Am I a person who bears
grudges? How do I deal with the person who harms me or hurts my feelings?
Only God can give us the grace to forgive all others, those who have
harmed us in any way at all. God calls us to immediate and complete
forgiveness of others. God is so clear in today's readings: if you do not
forgive, how can you possibly ask forgiveness?
We know the story of the older brother within the story of the prodigal
son. The older brother really resents his younger brother. The younger
brother goes off and wastes all of his inheritance and then comes home and
is received with incredible kindness and love by his father. This is truly
injustice! And yet it is how God wants us to live: judge not and you will
not be judged!
How do I treat the person who harms me? Jesus gives us the story of the
servant who could not pay his debt. None of us can repay our debt to the
Lord. Should God then put us in prison and torture us? Instead he
forgives us our debts and asks us to forgive others.
All of us who have sinned can understand the debt that we owe to the Lord.
The more we see that debt, the more we can understand that we must forgive
others. So much of our spiritual literature is focused on this type of
forgiveness: look at the beam in your own eye before you try to take out
the small piece of straw in the eye of your brother!
The Book of Sirach spells out the teaching of today's Gospel as well: If
anyone who is flesh cherishes wrath, who can forgive his sins? In order to
be forgiven, we must learn to forgive.
The Letter to the Romans also speaks of our debt to one another: None of
us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. We can only truly live
when we live for the Lord - and the Lord is always compassionate and
merciful. Today, when we hear His voice, let us not harden our hearts.
Instead, let us learn to forgive, even those things that seem unforgivable.
It is God Himself inviting us to cleanse our souls and to forgive all who
have harmed us in any way. Every time that we hold on to our anger, we
damage only ourselves. Every time that we refuse forgiveness, we harm
Let us live for God and live God's forgiveness every day - from our hearts!
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: