Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 29, 2011 (Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Tuesday, March 29, 2011

By Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Forgiveness is the theme of our readings this morning — God's forgiveness of our sins and our duty to forgive others.

One of the most powerful stories of forgiveness unfolded in October 2006. A gunman, Charles Roberts, entered a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He killed five girls, ages 6 to 13, and critically wounded five others before taking his own life. What shocked the country and the world was not only the killings but also the fact that the Amish community immediately offered forgiveness. Before the sun set on that fateful Monday, Oct. 2, a member of the Amish community went to the parents of the killer and offered condolences. The Amish community also reached out to Marie and her three children, the family of the gunman. Here is grace in action.

Jesus came to reconcile all creation back to the Father. And that ministry of redemption has been entrusted to us. The basic message is that, since God has given us more than more than Seventy Times Seven, we are not withhold forgiveness from one another.

Father Ronald Rolheiser offers this reflection of forgiveness: "In a world and a culture that is full of wounds, anger, injustice, inequality, historical privilege, jealousy, resentment, bitterness, murder and war, we must speak always and everywhere about forgiveness, reconciliation and God's healing. Forgiveness lies at the center of Jesus' moral message."

The litmus test for being a Christian is not whether one can say the Creed and mean it, but whether one can forgive and love an enemy.

Peter pondered the question of forgiveness by asking how often that grace must be extended to others. Jesus, again, uses a parable to demonstrate that God's mercy is unlimited and that we, made in God image and likeness, are to emulate that quality.

It is quite obvious that given the deep pain of being hurt, only by the grace of God can we do what the Amish community did. And as we deeper into Lent and closer to Holy Week and Easter, perhaps it is time for us to ask ourselves if there is any lack of forgiveness in our hearts. And if there should be, now is the time to extend forgiveness.

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