Forgiveness

All for One – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

All for One – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

At the heart of the gospel is the great affirmation that “we are members of the body of Christ and individually members one of another”. That is, as the Three Musketeers would say, it is “All for one and one for all”. This is how we are to live and this is how we are to serve. The fact that we all let each other down in this, sometimes severely, does not change this fact at all. That is why the foundational ideals of the church are love, loyalty, and mutual service but the practical virtues that express this are patience, forbearance, and forgiveness.

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Forgiven and Empowered – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Forgiven and Empowered – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

In other words, when we come to faith and are baptized something really happens to us. We are not just forgiven and sent on our way to try to do better. Rather, we are truly freed from the grip of sin and empowered to live the life to which we are called. This, of course, is not to say that in the face of long habit within and allure or coercion without that it will be easy. It is not to say that we will not on many occasions fail. Rather, it is to say that failure is not final and success is sure if we but persevere and continually surrender ourselves to God’s grace.

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Renewed Minds – Second Reading in Preparation for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Renewed Minds – Second Reading in Preparation for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In short, Jesus blazed the way to a new humanity and a new world, a new you and a new me, with every step he took. His life became the incarnate example, the embodiment, of all we are to do and be. Our task as his disciples is to imitate him, to live as he lived. Is that not what he meant when he said, “Follow me.”? In the words of St. John, “If we say we love him, ought we not walk in the way in which he walked?”

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A Clean Heart – First Reading in Preparation for the Fifth Week in Lent

A Clean Heart – First Reading in Preparation for the Fifth Week in Lent

Lent is a time of exile. It is a time in which, recognizing our own sinfulness, we seek to strip away all of those things that, in big and little ways, have led us away from God, away from the life we are meant to lead and the people we are meant to become. But we do so precisely in the hope that we see held out for us in these two passages: that our lives will be healed by the wounds of sins and our hearts be made new through intimacy with God in order that we can receive and live the life which He has promised us.

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When Yes Means Yes – Gospel for the Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

When Yes Means Yes – Gospel for the Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The challenge of this passage for us today, N. T. Wright tells us, is “to make sure we are responding to Jesus, allowing him to confront us at any point where we have been like the second son and said ‘Yes’ to God while in fact going off in the other direction.” (Matthew For Everyone, V2, p.77) We should not be afraid to do this for Jesus does not want to confront us in order to judge us, but rather to save us. The implication of this passage is not a final condemnation of Israel’s leaders, but a final appeal for their repentance: “If he waited for the harlots and tax collectors to repent and believe, and they had responded, might the priests not follow suit? The arms of divine mercy are still open.”( Michael Green, Matthew, p227)

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Love and Mercy – Gospel Reading for the Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Love and Mercy – Gospel Reading for the Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Some read this as the God given means by which a wronged party can get his due from an offender and, this failing legitimately shun him – treat him “as a Gentile or tax collector”. But look at the context in which this passage is set. On one side is the parable of the lost sheep (18:10-14) in which a shepherd leaves a flock of ninety-nine to find then one lost sheep that had wandered away. On the other side is the question by Peter, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?” Our Lord’s answer is unequivocal in its call to mercy: “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (18:21 – 22) There can be no doubt that our passage, bracketed by these, is not about the correct procedure to exclude a brother who has offended us. Rather it is about seeking out and forgiving a lost brother seventy times seven. It is about mercy.

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A Spirit of Peace and Love – Gospel of Pentecost Sunday

A Spirit of Peace and Love – Gospel of Pentecost Sunday

Notably the peace he offers them does not entail the absence of conflict or turmoil. The same threat of danger and death facing them just moments prior still faces them now and will only increase in the days, weeks and years ahead as they carry out their mission to make disciples in all the world. No, the peace Jesus offers them is something far deeper and greater. It is the shalom of God, the presence of wholeness, harmony and well-being for which we were all made but have lost through sin.
This peace cannot be found by the avoidance of conflict or in the pursuit of paths with little or no resistance. To the contrary, this peace was obtained by the very violence and struggle to which the wounds in Jesus’ hands and side bear witness, for it is a peace that comes only from a reconciled relationship with God.

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Setting the World on Fire – First Reading, Fourth Sunday of Easter (example post)

Setting the World on Fire – First Reading, Fourth Sunday of Easter (example post)

There is a fine line to be found here, and perhaps no one could find it more beautifully than Peter, who himself was deeply aware of his own sin, and even his own part in our Lord’s passion. This is the same Peter who, after the Resurrection, had himself experienced the redeeming power of the Lord’s love and forgiveness and he stands here, now, not to point a finger of judgment at the Jews in the crowd as if they had sinned where he had not, but rather to invite them to experience the same love and forgiveness that had so radically change his life.

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Throwing Stones – John 8

Throwing Stones – John 8

Our struggle is not in discerning the condemnation of our fellow man, but rather in the fight for our own souls. Nonetheless, how we treat our fellow man is very much a determination of whether or not we win this struggle. We are placed in this world together in order that the Lord may work graces through us for one another.

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A Love Not Blind – John 4

A Love Not Blind – John 4

The love that Jesus offered her in that moment was at once far deeper and richer than any love that professed to cast a blind eye towards her spotted past (and present). But it was not an easy love to receive. It was a love that forced her to recognize what many of us would rather be left unnoticed: the depth of her sin and her desperate need for God.

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