24th Sunday in Ordinary Time FORGIVENESS – Matthew 18:21-35

16th/17th September, 2017
Today’s Gospel deals with a subject that concerns us all – Forgiveness. None of us can go through life without getting hurt. How do we cope with these hurts? They can provide us with the opportunity to grow, or they can become a stumbling block to human and spiritual development.
Hurts are not easy to deal with. As soon as we get hurt self-pity walks in the front door-which is only natural. But once self-pity is entertained, it produces a legacy of bitterness, resentment and anger. The memory of the wrong flows inward and festers. It effects our spirit and destroys our capacity to love. Some people have years of stored hurts within. Hurt feelings have to be dug up, owned and let go!
Here is where Forgiveness comes in. Though not easy from a human point of view it makes sense. Ridding ourselves of the burden of bitterness and resentment. As a result we experience a sense of freedom, relief and cleanliness. Once again we are able to devote all our energies to loving, which is the only activity that befits a Christian. Forgiveness is first and foremost a healing of our own hearts. It is precisely our hearts that are wounded.
Forgiveness works wonders for the person who is forgiven. He/she is set free to walk in friendship with God and with the person he/she has offended. Forgiveness implies an understanding of our own property, brokenness and sin. This enables us to forgive with understanding and humility. To Forgive in a high – handed way is not a Christian way to forgive. We have to be willing to admit that we may have been at least partly to blame for what has happened. It is not good enough to forgive in word. We must Forgive, as the Gospel says from the heart.
It is not a question of forgiving if and when the offender repents – that would be relatively easy. We are expected to forgive even if the offender doesn’t repent – this is what makes it so difficult, and why we need God’s grace
Forgiveness clears a path for God to forgive us. The only obstacle we can put in the way of God’s forgiveness of our sins is our inability to forgive the sins of others. We all need forgiveness. People who cannot forgive break down the bridge over which they themselves must pass.
Blessed are those who forgive; they shall obtain forgiveness for their own sins.
With every kind wish
Dean Peter