Tuesday, July 12, 2011

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was YOU

If a man does what he can and is truly penitent, however often he comes to Me for grace and pardon, "As I live, saith the Lord God, I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live"; I will no longer remember his sins, but all will be forgiven him.—(Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, 1380-1471)

Gospel text (Mt 11,20-24): Jesus began to reproach the towns
where most of his mighty deeds had been done,
since they had not repented.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

We are no different than the people Jesus speaks to in the gospel today, because we have short memories too. Like them we forget the miracles we prayed for, that were answered as Jesus has performed wonders in our own lives. Many of us know someone who has beat the odds and are still with us today. Jesus speaks to the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum to remember the great works He has performed for them asking them to repent. Yes, we have choices on how to live, but life has come with instructions to help us make good ones.

When crossing the inhuman streets of our “dormitory towns”, I wonder: what can be done to help people whom I feel totally unable to establish a dialogue with, whom I cannot share my thoughts with, whom it seems impossible to transmit God's love to? And then, I remember the motto St. Francis de Sales chose when he was appointed bishop of Geneva: «Where God planted us, we must yearn to bloom». And if, with a stone in my hand at times I wonder about God's strict judgment that may befall, at other times —with a wild little flower, born amongst the weeds and the manure in high mountains— I see that I should not lose Hope. I must reciprocate the goodness shown to me by God, and thus, what meager generosity I may place in the heart of whoever I am greeting, or the interested and attentive glance towards whoever is asking me some information, or just my smile of thanks addressed to whoever yields to let me through, will flourish in the future. And Faith will not be lost in our world.

Remember, the Lord also went through our towns, our neighborhood, our homes, and... did we pay any attention to him?, did we take notice of him?

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