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Sunday, September 12, 2010

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24th Sunday Ordinary Time

Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19
Luke 15:1-32

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"rich in mercy" (eph 2:4)

"I was dealt with mercifully." —1 Timothy 1:16

One of the most important questions in life is: "Have I forgiven all those who have ever hurt me, no matter what they have done or even if they continue to hurt me?" If we have not forgiven everyone seventy times seven (Mt 18:22), God will not forgive us (Mt 6:12) but hand us over to the torturers (Mt 18:34). Unforgiveness deprives us of life with Christ, now and forever.

Many people say they've forgiven, but really haven't. They have redefined forgiveness to mean controlling hostility or being civil. They try to think that if they're nice to their offenders, or at least not openly hostile, they have forgiven them.

The real meaning of forgiveness is expressed in the parable of the prodigal son. The forgiving father runs up to his son, embraces and kisses him, gives him special presents, and has a big party for him (Lk 15:20ff). Forgiveness includes the active expression of love and mercy toward those who have hurt us. Forgiveness is both showing love in tangible ways and giving mercy, that is, giving those who have hurt us better than they deserve.

God the Father has forgiven us all with amazing love and mercy. He even sent His Son to die for us. Let's extend to others the forgiveness and mercy which the Lord has given to us (see Mt 18:33).

Prayer:  Lord, have mercy!

Promise:  "So the Lord relented in the punishment He had threatened to inflict on His people." —Ex 32:14

Praise:  Praise You risen Jesus, Mercy Incarnate. You forgave Your enemies from the cross and now live in glory. Mercy of God, I trust in You.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Forgiveness on audio AV 54-1 or video V-54.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 8, 2010

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