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Forgive and you will be forgiven

February 24, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013, Second Week of Lent

Daniel 9:4-10. We have sinned, been wicked and done evil.

Luke 6:36-38. Forgive and you will be forgiven.

Gospel Reflection:

This is a short gem from the Gospel today; perhaps it is a blessing because it should be easy to concentrate on this little, but very important lesson! From the entrance antiphon we hear that we are to chasten our bodies and abstain from all sins. We started abstaining from meat on Friday for Lent. Some people still abstain every Friday – it’s just habit. And that is what we are supposed to be doing: cultivating a habit. If we can do it with meat, then maybe – eventually – we can give up a sin, or two.

Jesus points out that it is easier to turn a critical eye around us, instead of on ourselves? We say, ‘look how those people dress, look how they act, if you give them money they will only go buy booze with it’, and on and on. We all do it. Even in reflex. But reflexes – like habits – can be honed. That is what the Lord is reminding us, that to be holy, to be Christ-like Christians – little Christs – is to be merciful, as our Father is merciful. If you don’t judge, if you don’t condemn, then neither shall you be. Forgive, forgive, forgive. And when in doubt – forgive some more.

Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins

We even plead in our Response, ‘Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins’; we know. But, still, it’s difficult to stop the sins all together. It’s like housekeeping: if you do not clean very well, then, your house won’t be very clean. If you clean thoroughly, well, then, you have a very clean house. You get what you give. But the Lord is merciful. Thanks be to God for that.

Old Testament writers teach mercy as an attribute of God the Father, but here Luke has Jesus telling us it is a quality we too can aspire to, and even more fantastic – use mercy as a measure of our own generosity in the world; to indeed be little Christs. St John Chrysostom entreats us, “the rich man is not one who is in possession of much, but one who gives much”. This Lent, let us give the gift of mercy as we create good habits within us, and, outwardly, as a community, lift up one another, rally to one another, and love one another.

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