September 13, 2020
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Transformation, Connection, Presence, today, Forgiveness. The writers of Matthew’s Gospel are trying to show us how to be like God. All God wants of us is that we Love one another and ourselves.
It seems that God began this Universe some 13 + billion years ago. Some 200,000 years ago our ancestors came into being. We are becoming more like the Divine in our abilities, but we are still learning how to use our gifts. With the gift of Consciousness we are becoming more aware of how we must be transformed, and connected to one another. We desire Love—God—but sometimes we do not know what Love is, or how to be loving. Sirach says it well, “Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight.”
In today’s Gospel stories Jesus continues to show his disciples and us, today, how to Love. Forgiveness is a way to love. Peter asks how many times he must forgive. Peter and we, learn to forgive 70 times 7,–always. If I refuse to forgive I am allowing that old debt to control me- I am ”hugging tight” to a hateful thing. I am wasting energy keeping an old wound festering. If I forgive another, I am loving myself. I am saying, “I want to be forgiven.” If I do not forgive, I keep myself in the hands of torturers, locked in vengeance and injustice.
Forgiveness is a way to build relationships that are grounded on Love. If I am able to ask you for forgiveness, I am trying to love you.
I must forgive me for not paying attention to you, for not knowing what offends you. And I must be aware that for the most part, offending is unintentional.
This is where Compassion comes into our lives. I must be compassionate to myself as I become aware of my own offending acts, and then show compassion to others as we all learn to be aware of our hurtful ways.
Sister Deb talked about Presence, last week. She reminded us that Presence is Love, God’s Love. Forgiving and being forgiven are ways of being actively present to each other. We offer our presence to one another, our love to one another. 13 billion years ago God gave God’s self away to creation. God is Love. We continue to create as we share our presence.
For me, all of this is what it means to be Eucharistic persons, a Eucharistic Community. A Thanksgiving Community. We thank God for Love. Every day we share meals, we break bread as Jesus did with his disciples. We offer our lives to one another.
This Sunday celebration is special because we are sharing the bread that symbolizes, represents, the Church, the Body of Christ. We become more aware of sharing our presence, God’s presence with all of Creation. “To be alive means giving one’s self away.”
-Sister Anne Madeleine Brost
An addition to this wise reflection that came as a help to me some time ago from a now-forgotten source (while studying forgiveness) is the distinction between the ‘intention’ of an action and the ‘impact’. Often an innocent intention (or an unconscious one) has an unintended impact. We must be open to listening to those impacted by our actions, and ready to forgive both ourselves and others.