THEME: TAKE UP FORGIVENESS AND DROP VENGEANCE
(Sirach 27:30-28:7; Romans 14:7-9; Matthew 1821-35)
It remains part of our existential issues as human beings for people to offend one another and cross the path of others. Be it in the royal family or in the peasant family, in the social organization or religious organization, at one time or the other, one person would certainly be offended or take offence against the other.
Forgive your brother or sister from your heart. “Two neighbours had a lifelong quarrel. One of them became gravely ill. His wife called the priest and explained to him, “Father, Peter has been fighting with Frank for years. Peter is going to die. Can’t you patch up their quarrel?” After much persuasion the priest convinced the dying Peter to call Frank for reconciliation. In a few minutes, Frank was at the bed side of Peter and he suggested, “let’s make up, Peter. Let bygones be bygones”. Peter agreed, though reluctantly. Frank then prepared to leave; Peter raised himself on one elbow in bed, he shouted, “Remember, Frank, this counts only in case I die”. Many people regard it as their right to return evil for evil; if they cannot they feel they have lost their freedom”.
Obviously, there is virtually no amount of other people’s offence against us that would compare to our sins and unfaithfulness to God but still God forgives us. This experience of God’s forgiving love in our lives should not only challenge us but impel us to forgive others who injure us. And if we are not ready and willing to do this, it means that we are not really valuing and appreciating how completely God has forgiven us, just like the Unforgiving Servant in the parable of today fails to understand and give back the same forgiveness as he was forgiven by his Master.
Forgiveness for a Christian cannot be an occasional act but a permanent attitude. Though forgiveness is a difficult thing to do, it warms the heart and cools the sting. To be forgiven is such sweetness that honey or maple syrup is tasteless in comparison with it. But there is one thing sweeter still, and that is to forgive. Unforgiveness is self-destructive because if you refuse to let go your anger, that anger can get you imprisoned for a lifetime making you feel sick and so uninterested in life that you won’t see anything beautiful anymore.
A good way of exercising mercy and forgiveness is, give yourself time so that anger can cool. Also, sit down in God’s presence and recall how much and how often God has forgiven you in spite of all hurts we inflict on others. May God give us the grace to develop a positive attitude toward managing anger. As we acknowledge the fact that forgiveness is difficult, remember that it is human to err and forgiveness is divine.