24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – A – Deacon Owen

24 Ord A 11 Sep 11

Today we received a very clear message from the Lord God through the readings of the Holy Bible.  We were told to forgive others of all their trespasses against us.  And, our forgiveness should not be just limited to once or twice, but seventy times seven. This does not   mean  that if we forgive everyday for 490 days,then our share of forgiveness  has been completed.  The seventy times seven means ongoing forgiveness, day after day, week after week, years after years, this being one without counting.

When we do not forgive someone, it is because we are passing judgment on that person.  Jesus commanded us not to judge others so that we will not be judged.  For by the measure that we judge others, by refusing to forgive them of their trespasses, that same measure will be used against us when our time of judgment arrives.

So just how can we make an evaluation of an individual without judging?  It is by completely forgetting offenses that were committed by the person.  It is by forgiving as a holy child of God, forgiving as God would forgive.  In His holiness, God promised, “None of the sins that they have committed shall be remembered against them; they have done what is lawful and right, they shall surely live.  God shall no longer remember the sins of the sinner who does what is right…He forgives those who trespassed against Him without counting, without counting, without looking back without ever mentioning the trespass again, as if it never happened.  That is holy forgiveness.

My sisters and bothers, when we leave here today, let us remember that “Being unable to forgive is the greatest obstacle to holiness!”

With today’s message on our minds and with it tattooed on our hearts this signpost to our salvation is imprinted the soul saving motto of our own salvation.

Many are unable to proceed with their sanctification because they cannot find it in their hearts to forgive. They fall short of the Divine love of God.  In fact, did you know that there are more offenders in the prisons who receive the love and mercy of God than there are victims who are free in the world?  This end result occurs because offenders spend more time towards reflecting on their sins.  An offender is better disposed to acknowledge his guilty heart and conscience that is not at peace.  In search for spiritual peace, he is led by the divine grace of God to admit his guilt, to repeat to confess and to seek salvation through the Lord’s abounding mercy and forgiveness.  The general attitude of those who are victims of crimes is that they are without sin! No one is without sin!  If anyone believes that he is without sin, he is deceiving himself and the truth is not in him.

The soul that cannot forgive does not have the truth of God in its heart.  That means that such a person is not righteous and forgiving as God has commanded.  While possibly unaware of it, such a person has withdrawn himself as an adopted child of God until such a time as he can find the strength in his heart to forgive.

Most of us have been victims at one time or another in our lives.  We may have been victims of mental abuse such as rudeness.  We may have seen victims of ongoing psychological abuse.  We may have been victims of physical abuse, discipline that goes beyond the necessity of discipline and some may have been victims of sexual abuse.

We often find the same sentiment expressed by Jesus as, He is quoted in several different passages  arise your faith has save thee.

Today’s 2nd reading consists of three short verses.  The passage can be construed as to be speaking about life after death but after careful reading we see that Paul is talking about life in this world.  In isolation the passage appears to be concerned about our relationship with the Lord.  Read in context we can see that Paul is actually more concerned with our relationship with one another.  We see this point more clearly at the beginning of the chapter of Romans, Paul speaks about the two groups of strong and weak believers.

Ultimately Paul is seen to mean that “We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves.  If we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.  For to this end Christ died andlived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

In other words, Paul is saying that holiness or right and wrong is not about us or about what we think, or feel but about the Lord.  A Christian criticizing another Christian on the ground of difference of opinion and lifestyle is as good.

It is such a fitting day for this discussion to be carried on.  It would be difficult if not impossible for anyone be unaware that today  is the tenth anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9 11 2001.

A few short years ago, on 9/11 the TV was a non-stop reporting of the tragedies and it was a good focus for the American Public   We needed that focus to bring out the lesson as to what hatred could do and the danger or our getting lost in the hatred rampant through the American mind.

The need to support our government in whatever just action brought about a retaliation and vengeance for the attack we suffered only because we are Americans.

Our purpose today is not to prepare a vengeful attitude to vindicate a war-like attitude  against suspected world power but to pray with friends, neighbors and other world powers torally ourselves to fight hatred and to share God’s Love.

You and I have good reason to be angry because of what happened on 9/11, we have good reason to support the government in taking firm action for the protection of ourselves and our fellow citizens.  But we never have reason to loin in the sum total of hatred that devastate our world.

Like you I want those who perpetrated those acts of violence to be brought to justice no matter where they originated,

Vengeance and retribution remain still part of our thought process but as Christians we know we are called as individuals, as a nation and as a family of nations bound together in grief and anger to act justly.  We must pray for our elected leaders, our President and Congress military and statesmen to respond so that action and the continual threat to respond with prudence and  appropriate actions against those known to be responsible.

To lash out with more wanton violence, even though we are aggrieved as a nation is not to act justly.  We must also avoid the mistakes of the past and be slow to blame or condemn entire races  or cultures, religions or nations.

We need today to remain humble before our God.  Who is one of the worst victims of senseless violence hangs before us on the cross. He remained the humble Son of the Father to the very end and because of that faith, hope and love, the Father made something positive, something good come from the Cross.  We need to remind ourselves in this moment that we may not be able to solve every problem of human creation but with God’s help and our hope and effort, we can at lease begin to bring that era of peace which we all pray for.

The people who died at 9/11 well have spent their lives in vain if we fail to continue to work for an end to all violence, be it among nations religious groups or families.

If we find ourselves unable to forgive other people, chances are that we have not come to appreciate and celebrate sufficiently the immeasurable forgiveness that we ourselves have received from God.  So.  Let us pray today for a deeper appreciation of the amazing love that God has shown us in Christ.  It is this awareness that will make it easier for us to let others off the hook for their relatively minor offences against us.

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