TWENTY FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY
As we celebrate the 24th Sunday in ordinary times, the readings return to a critical issue Christ often spoke about—Forgiveness. In the book of Sirach 27:30 and 28:1-5 we read: “Anger and unforgiveness are abominations, yet the sinner hugs them tight. The vengeful will face the Lord’s vengeance; for He will remember all their sins in detail. Forgive your neighbor the wrong done to you; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven. Does anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the LORD?” And in Matthew 18:35 we read, “And my Father will do exactly the same to you if you do not forgive each other from your heart”
Forgiveness is not easy! As human beings, we are not wired along the axis of forgiveness; we are wired to be good to those who are kind to us and to deal with those who are bad to us. When we get hurt, our pride kicks in—we want to get even, hold the grudge, be vindictive, fight back, let the offender have it and to do whatever we can to maximize the revenge.
The truth is that your hurt is real and sometimes it hurts so badly! Yes, you may have done nothing to deserve it; it was a wicked act, and the one who hurt you may not be able to make it right again. Yet, holding onto your hurt and living with anger, bitterness, wrath and vindictive spirit only works to poison your life, not the life of your enemy. You are the one who gets more hurt physically, emotionally, spiritually, and eternally. It is not worth it. Nobody is worth the loss of your soul. Your salvation is worth more than your hurt. The Bible says, “No unforgiving spirit shall see God”.
So, find it in your heart to forgive when people hurt you and they ask for forgiveness or find it in your heart to forgive to show the depth of your love for God or find it in your heart to forgive, at least, for your own sake, to save your own soul or find it in your heart to forgive because you yourself, you are a sinner, you have, in one way or the other hurt others and God.
You see, when you forgive others, you become the kind of person God wants to use for a higher purpose because you are showing God that you are grown enough to appreciate His commandments; that He can trust you to do right with His blessings no matter what; that He can trust you not to be blinded by vindictiveness, anger, wrath, and revenge; that He can trust you to move on with life, to be free of the burden of unforgiveness, to be a true servant of the master, and to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness has liberating power. Let us do everything we can to be free from the slavery and burden of unforgiveness.