August 16, 2018 (Thursday of Week 19 Year II)
Dear friends in Christ, forgiving the other person is often a challenge for many. Often when one is hurting, it is difficult to think about forgiveness not to talk of attempt it. We sometimes even take it literally that, ‘to err is human and to forgive is divine,’ therefore some think it is just right to hold the grudge at least for a while. How should we handle it?
Our first reading today (Ezekiel 12:1-12) presents one of the symbolic actions of the prophet Ezekiel, which was meant to serve as a warning before the fall of Jerusalem. He was instructed by God to act out the exodus into slavery, by making a hole in the wall of his house, and to go out in the full glare of the people with only his back pack, like someone leaving in a hurry for exile; unable to take with him his priced belongings. He returned by the morning to deliver the message and meaning of his action, “I am a sign for you: as I have done, so shall it be done to them: they shall go into exile, into captivity. and the prince who is among them shall lift his baggage upon his shoulder in the dark, and shall go forth; he shall dig through the wall and go out through it, he shall cover his face, that he may not see the land with his eyes.” God was sending the prophet that they might repent and be forgiven.
The gospel of today (Matthew 18:21-19:1) reveals the sharp contrast between God and humans, at forgiving. Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” In a culture where one is free to retaliate on the third count, seven is definitely a great act of generosity. That for Jesus was not enough. He told Peter, “I do not to say to you seven, but seventy times seven.” Jesus went on to use the parable of the unforgiving servant to explain his response. While the master forgave a servant who was owing him an amount he would not be able to pay back, the same servant got his fellow jailed, for not immediately paying back something little that was owed him. God forgives us even what we do not think he would. He pardons us for our trespasses of his laws. Should we not forgive one another? When we are pained and hurting, we must remember how we have first been forgiven by God and then remember that we can have no peace of mind, for as long as we refuse to forgive. In the Lord’s prayer he taught his followers, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” We must do our best to live up to that prayer.
Let us pray: Lord, in a time of hurt and pain, give me the courage to pray with you, ‘Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.’ Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.