Scripture Reflections

Saturday, September 17, 2011


September 11, 2011

Sunday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in the Ordinary Time
Ecclesiasticus 27:30-28:7; Romans 14:7-9; Matthew 18:21-35

I wrote on the door of my heart: "please do not enter." Love came smiling and said: "sorry, I am illiterate"

It is said: God has a Son. His name is LOVE. Love has a wife. Her name is FORGIVENESS.
From the union of Love and forgiveness come all the virtues in the world.
The devil has a son. His name is Hatred. He has a wife. Her name is Anger.
From the union of hatred and anger emerge all the evil in the world.
Love and Forgiveness are soul-mates. Wherever there is love, there is forgiveness.
Wherever forgiveness goes love follows her.
Love without forgiveness and forgiveness without love are incomplete.
Anger and hatred are soul-mates, too.
Wherever there is hatred, there is anger. Hatred follows anger wherever she goes.

Whose child are you: of God, or of the devil?
What is in your heart: Love and forgiveness, or hatred and anger?

Jesus declares us to be true children of God: born in love, redeemed in forgiveness and sanctified in grace! We are sons and daughters in the SON!

The central message of the scripture passage for our reflection today is FORGIVENESS. We are commanded to forgive…forgive... and forgive. Never count how many times; and never ask how long. The commandment to forgive is an extension of the commandment to love. If love is the mark of a true disciple of Christ, forgiveness is the way to grace.

Jesus offers us two reasons why we should be forgiving unconditionally and unlimited: 1. We are forgiven by God, and 2. We ourselves need forgiveness.

I am forgiven:
God’s eternal love is revealed in forgiveness. He has forgiven me first. He keeps forgiving me. His patience endures forever. This has been the experience of people throughout human history that have a God who forgives us unconditionally and unlimited. The psalmist verbalized it: “The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger and rich in compassion” (Ps 103). Indeed, if I survive today, it is because of the mercy of God. I was born in sin, I inherited a sinful world, and I wallow in sinful ways each day of my life. I owe God for all that I have and all that I am. I can never ever re-pay him enough in this life or in a thousand lives. Each day I break my covenant with Him and bring disgrace to His name. Yet, God keeps patiently waiting for me, loving me more each time I sin, and justifying me with His grace. If only I turn my steps towards Him or raise my eyes to His heart, He grants me forgiveness: no questions asked; no penalties imposed.

It is this ineffable forgiving love of God that impels me to be forgiving. This is why Jesus speaks of forgiveness in the same breath as He speaks of love. Forgiveness is the true expression of love.

Forgiveness is a conditional grace. The very word for-giving implies the centrality of “giving”. We receive forgiveness in as much as we give it. Jesus never got tired of talking about the “conditional grace of forgiveness”. He inserted it in the beatitudes, in the Lord ’s Prayer, in the parables and instructions, and demonstrated it in His prayer on the Cross. It is forgiveness that makes the Cross worth embracing.

I need forgiveness:
Forgiveness, like love, is necessary for a healthy, happy and long life. More than a burden, forgiveness is the path of grace. Do you want long life? Forgive! Do you want peace and joy? Forgive! Do you want healthy, fulfilling relationships? Forgive!

Unforgiveness is a poison that will kill you. Hatred and anger in your heart will see you through a miserable life and a gradual painful death. I may not be able to kill my enemies with my unforgiveness. Yet, I will kill myself if I refuse to forgive. The one who suffers more because of my refusal to forgive is not my enemy, but myself. The more I harbor anger and vengeance in my heart and the longer I live with those feelings the more my life gets rotten.

Anger, bitterness, hatred and unforgiveness are more toxic than all the most dangerous elements in the world. You need to clean regularly the sanctuary of your heart from the “emotional trash” and the “toxic feelings”. If you keep trash in your house, and pile them up each day, what happens? They begin to rot, stink, and spread deadly germs. You become sick. Jesus offers to clean the trash from your heart. He offers His services for free. Consider turning your steps toward the confessional. You will feel clean, healthy and good.

Consider each time you forgive as the first time. Never say enough. We never forgive enough. For, you never say enough in love. Nobody gets offended in forgiveness. If your brother or sister loses his/her temple, hold yours in tact. Do not make yourself a victim of your enemy. When you refuse to forgive, you make yourself his/her slave. Forgiveness restores true freedom. Is it not funny that we give the control of our life to our enemies when we fail to forgive them. You cannot step out of your house and walk freely for the fear that you might stumble upon your enemy! Forgive, and you will know what freedom and peace is!

The rule of love is also the rule of forgiveness. “Love your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength.” Forgive your offender with all your heart, with all your will and with all your strength. Many a time forgiveness fail, because I have not been able to apply “all my heart, all my mind and all my strength” in forgiving.

Thought Capsule: "Don't be afraid to forgive. It is a sign of strength. Forgiveness may not make the other person right, it makes you free. "