Life here on earth with our fellow human beings, is an Opportunity and a Challenge.
>> An Opportunity…
… for it gives the chance to learn from each other and to grow with each other.
>> A Challenge…
… for it dares us to live at peace with one another and to be in harmony with each other!
Living together sometimes is described in terms of the experience of “Porcupines on a cold winter’s night”.
>> The cold makes the porcupines to huddle together and get closer, to keep warm…
But as soon as they get close to another…
… they start jabbing and poking each other with their spines and that forces them to move apart;
Thus they are forever coming together and moving apart… in a kind of slow dance.
As the saying goes:
“To dwell above, with saints we love…Oh, that will be glory!
But to dwell below, with people we know…Well, that’s another story!!”
The Gospel of the Day deals with the aspect of Forgiveness…
… which is the key for a harmonious living together.
The Apostle Peter comes to Jesus with a question we have all sought to ask one time or the other….
A person had done wrong and Peter had forgiven him.
The same person had hurt him again and he had forgiven him.
>> He did it again, causing a deeper wound and Peter had forgiven him again.
>> He did it again and offended him harder and Peter forgave him again….but this time he was losing his patience!
Don’t I have a limit for myself to bear…?
>> Should I go on bearing hurts?
>> Don’t I have feelings which are sensitive?
So Peter comes to Jesus with a question we can all understand:
“Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother?” (Mt 18: 21a)
He wanted to know when do you quit turning the other cheek to the one who hits you on one cheek!
Peter must have thought what answer the Law provided: The Law suggested to forgive three times (Amos 1:3-13).
But Peter wanted to do more; he wanted to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees and the Scribes…
>> So he says, “Is it enough to forgive seven times?!” (Mt 18: 21b)
Wow! That’s double the requirement plus one!
>> Seven – the Perfect number!
But the Lord, Who loves to keep challenging, instead of elevating Peter’s huge numbers…
… throws out an even bigger one.
He says, “not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Mat 18:22).
Literally it can refer to 490 times…..but it’s a mere expression to mean , “an unlimited number!”
Now is this demand of the Lord something really practical and viable?
Or is Jesus turning out to be “one of those many idealistic teachers who love to talk in the air…
… but nothing which is practical or really feasible and doable!?
The Lord has a solution and an insight…
… with the help of the Parable of the Unforgiving servant.
>> If God were to forgive us only a limited number of times…
… how many days would we have survived?
>> If God were to withdraw His Grace after an “x” number of times…
… how many situations would we have endured?
>> If God were to stop granting us pardon after a period of time…
… how many blessings would we have been denied?
>> If God were to keep an account of all our sins and transgressions…
… how many of us would have been alive today?
Forgiveness does not mean justifying the bad behaviours of people!
>> Forgiveness does not mean supporting the evil deeds of our fellow beings!
>> Forgiveness does not mean encouraging the faults or situations of wrongdoing or hurts!
>> Forgiveness does not mean not correcting and reproving the misdeeds and carrying out our duties of rectifying!
But Forgiveness does mean liberating the people from guilt and condemnation in our hearts!
>> Forgiveness does mean to have no ill feelings and grudging emotions against the ones who have hurt us!
>> Forgiveness does mean seeking to love them, praying for them and avoiding occasions of putting them down!
>> Forgiveness does mean to refuse to harbor their mistakes deep in our hearts, though we are wounded & hurt!
Life is an opportunity and a challenge….
>> An Opportunity to become more Divine…
… to become more forgiving…to become more Loving…!
>> A Challenge to let go of our ego…
… to cast away our hurtful and wounded feelings…to go beyond our aches!
Let us seek God’s Grace to Live Up to this Challenge and to Grab this opportunity!
God Bless! Live Jesus!