Sunday September 13th 2020: Read Br Michael’s Gospel Reflection The 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Forgive from the heart.
Last Sunday Jesus offered us a way of dealing with conflict and misunderstanding; we are to go to those whom we have hurt or who have hurt us and work out our differences as best we can. Today this theme and message of forgiveness continues. Peter asks Jesus, ‘Lord how often must I forgive those who wrong me, as often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, but seventy-seven times.’ In other words, there is no limit to the amount of times that we are to offer forgiveness. To illustrate this Jesus tells a parable.
A king calls in one of his servants who owes him a vast amount of money which he simply will never be able to repay. He falls at the feet of the king and asks for time so he can pay his debts. The king is moved with pity; he pardons the servants debt and lets him go. The king is as the psalm tells us, filled compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy. As the servant leaves, he himself meets another servant who him a very small amount of money. He too asks for mercy, using the same plea the servant used with the king, ‘Give me time and I will repay you.’ He refused; he had him thrown into prison until the debt was fully paid. The others servants told the king what they had seen. Calling the servant back in, the king asked why when he was forgiven, had he not treated his fellow servants with same compassion and mercy; ‘I cancelled your debt… were you not bound to show mercy to your fellow servant as I had pity on you?’
Often the parables of Jesus need some work to figure their meaning; this is not one of them! This story is simple but profound and very challenging. The lesson for us today could not be any clearer or demanding. We who have experienced God’s love and forgiveness are to forgive others – it’s that simple. It is in the Our Father that this gospel is found: ‘forgive us as we forgive those…’ We receive God’s pardon and forgiveness freely without question or limit and we are asked to share this forgiveness with others graciously, freely and without question.
All it takes for me to hurt or harm another person is one small careless word or one small act of selfishness. It is angry words and deeds that are the true weapons of destruction, not bombs or guns. On the other hand, all it takes is one small word of support or one small act of kindness and generosity to heal and help another person. Words like ‘sorry’ and ‘I accept your apology’ can go a long way to mend and heal a broken friendship.
This is not to suggest or imply that forgiveness or reconciliation is easy at all. Some hurts and wounds are so deep that the journey to healing and reconciliation is a long and winding road and not the work of a single moment. But it is a journey work starting and taking.
The great mystery of forgiveness is that the more we share it – give it away, as it were, the more it grows and spreads. But it does require a very determined decision on our part; we need to want to forgive the other person and we are called to take at least one small step as we reach out and as the gospel tells us – forgive our brother and sister from our heart.
Today, slowly pray these words; Lord, forgive us as we forgive those who hurt us.
– Br Michael Moore OMI
To be forgiven, you must forgive
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We’d like to take this opportunity to tell you that starting on the evening of Saturday, September 19 and finishing on Wednesday 23rd, we will be hosting a ‘virtual’ Lourdes Pilgrimage. As you will know, because of Covid-19, the pilgrimage had to be postponed for 2020.
Based on the theme, “Bringing Lourdes Home” we will use these few days to prayerfully bring Lourdes into our hearts.
Click here for more information: https://oblates.ie/virtual-lourdes-pilgrimage-2020/
We invite you to send your petitions for the pilgrimage, either to email@example.com or to the Mission Office, Oblate House of Retreat, Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore, DUBLIN 8, or for those of you in the UK you can send them to the Oblate Retreat Centre, Wistaston Hall, 89 Broughton Ln, Crewe CW2 8JS, UK. We will send more details soon on how you can join with us for these special days.
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