HOMILY: 23RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME 2020
Two friends were travelling along the desert, got lost and did not know the way out of the wilderness. They have very little water left and after awhile argued who will drink the last drop. One friend was slapped in the face because of the sudden outburst of emotion. The one who was slapped wrote something on the sand, “Today I was slapped by my friend”. They kept on walking and they fortunately found an oasis of water and swim and swim to be refreshed. While enjoying the fresh water, the one who was slapped asked for help for he is drowning. He was eventually saved by his friend and once again wrote something on the rock, “Today, I was saved by my friend”. He was asked then, I noticed that when I slapped you, you have written down something on the sand but by this time you have engraved something on the rock. His friend said, when you hurt me, I have written it down on the sand so that the wind of forgiveness can easily erase it but I have engraved the good thing you have to me on the rock so that the howling wind of forgetfulness can never blow it away.
Forgiveness is a divine action. The gospel says “whatever you bind here on earth will be bound in heaven”. Remember on the cross when Jesus uttered the words of forgiveness, unbeliever recognized Him as God. To err is human but to forgive is divine. We have to keep in our hearts that it is always good to be the first one to love by always looking for an opportunity for reconciliation. We have to be like Jesus to the world who is always to ready to forgive and forget. Jesus is always ready to forgive because He knows that in every person no matter how sinful he is; no matter how worse he is, He can still find even a little goodness in him. Man’s little goodness is what opens God to always forgive us.
Forgiveness saves relationships. Love your neighbour as yourself as quoted from Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Learning to love our neighbours begins by loving ourselves. We love ourselves when we understand that ours is a very frail humanity which is always prone to fail and commit mistakes. We love ourselves when we can humbly accept who we are. We have to courageously admit that we are sinful. We love ourselves when do not condemn ourselves but through the grace of God gives us a chance to make right the wrong we have done. When we observe and keep this spiritual routine, we can also love our neighbour. Remember that the classic act of love is forgiveness. It is when we learn to forgive that can always save a drifting relationship. Forgive just as Christ has forgiven you.
Forgiveness saves our lives too. According to the Prophet Ezekiel, we have to warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and if they do not listen they shall die in their inequities but you will have saved your life. To forgive does not only mean that we are doing favour to our oppressor but the Lord always delights people who are forgiving. If a person dies with a forgiving heart, he will surely go to heaven.