Homily for Thursday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time
Forgiveness is always one of the most challenging things for us to offer to those who have hurt us. But the words of Jesus in our Gospel today show us just how important forgiveness is for us who claim to be Christians. If we do not forgive those who have hurt us, then the Lord will not forgive us. The same amount of forgiveness that we offer will be the same forgiveness shown to us.
Now, I don’t think that Jesus was discrediting that sometimes that forgiveness is hard to give, especially when the hurt goes to the core of our souls. Let’s face it, some wounds hurt more than others; some hurts go a lot deeper than others. But the question that we have to ask ourselves is: what are we doing when the hurt is more deeply felt? Are we turning to the Lord and asking for His help in at least beginning the process of forgiveness or are we sitting in that un-forgiveness and letting it lead to resentment and bitterness? Those two things are cancerous and only eat at us and make that hurt even worse, they make that wound even more infected.
Today, the Lord is inviting us to think about someone who has hurt us, someone that we really struggle to love and forgive. Sometimes, those sentiments allow us to give ourselves permission to judge and disregard them, or hate them or belittle them. Do we really believe that God loves them less because we find it hard to love them?
The reality is that God loves those who have hurt us in the same way that He loves us. They are beloved to Him, just as we are His beloved. In any ways that we are lacking compassion, harboring resentment or giving ourselves permission to stay hurt, angry or in a state of un-forgiveness, God is calling us out of that today. He does not want us to stay in a place of hard-heartedness. He desires to transform our hearts and give us the ability to see with newness His ways of love and forgiveness.
So today, as we come forward to receive the Lord in the Eucharist, let’s think about one person who we are holding unforgiveness toward. Present them to the Lord and ask for His help in at least opening the door to forgiveness. It is possible. We just have to ask the Lord for help. Because if we can’t find it within ourselves to forgive, we will have to answer for that one day. So let’s ask the Lord for the grace to be able to forgive those who have hurt us.