HOMILY: 24TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME 2020
A woman bought a parrot for a pet. All the parrot did was to treat her bad. It insulted her and every time she tried to pick it up, it would peck at her arm. One day she got fed up with the parrot and as it was insulting her she picked it up, it continued with the insults. "You’re ugly! I can't stand you!" and it pecked at her arm as she carried it. She opened the freezer door and threw him in and closed the door. From inside, the parrot was still going on for about 5 seconds and then it was suddenly quiet. She thought, "Oh no, I killed it!" She opens the door and the parrot just looked at her. She picked it up. Then the parrot said: "I'm very sorry. I apologize for my bad behaviour and promise you there will be no more of that. From now on, I will be a respectful, obedient parrot." "Well OK" she said. "Apology accepted". The parrot said "Thank you". Then he said, "Can I ask you something?" She said, "Yes, What?" And the parrot looked at the freezer and asked, "What did the Chicken do?"
We are now on the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We are invited once again to deepen our understanding of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a quantifiable event. The gospel states “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. It is a quality; a way of being- you keep in always a forgiving heart. It is a way of living- being friendly to people around you and whom you meet along the way. A way of loving- loving people unconditionally. It is a way of relating and a way of thinking and seeing that people are always good and upright. It is nothing less than the way of Christ. If we are to follow Christ then it must become our way as well.
Forgiveness is to experience that we are forgiven by God. The Letter of Paul to the Romans said “For this end Christ died and lived again so that He might be the Lord of the dead and the living”. Each one of us has been purchased by the blood that He shed on the cross. This is God’s way of being compassionate to us. He does not deal with us according to our crimes. We deserved death and punishment like what the guy did in my story to the Parrot but He has loved us unconditionally whether we continue living apart from Him or intimately living with Him. He loves us all far more. We have to experience this great event in our life. This is the very reason why we are always welcome in the house of God. We are not condemned but we are justified by the death of Christ.
Forgiveness is letting go of anger and resentment in your heart. The Book of Sirach said anger and wrath are abominations, yet sinners hold on to them. Anger and wrath are silent killers deep inside of us. Our enemies had already vanished and yet they lingered in our hearts. It makes our heart beats fast, stress and lonely. What shall we do? The first step is to realize that what you’re holding on to is not helpful and is something you want to change. Then bring it to the sacrament of reconciliation because God will surely heal us and give us peace. You may share it with your friend or do something physical. Once you are able to let go of these emotions, once you let go of the fruit or open up the cage door, you will have a sense of freedom that you never imagined.