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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Do you have difficulties in forgiving others? Do you find strength by looking at the cross? - Daily Reflections August 13,2015


CHRISTIAN FORGIVENESS
 
Fr. Nil Guillemette begins a reflection on today’s Gospel with the following story about what happened in India at the Ganges River: “A traveler was passing by a road near the river. He saw an old man wading in waist-deep water, trying to retrieve a floating piece of bark. The old man was having trouble doing so. The traveler moved closer and saw that a scorpion was caught on the bark and that the old man was trying to save the scorpion from drowning. The traveler was horrified. ‘Why do you keep trying to save that scorpion?’ he asked. ‘It stings you every time you touch it!’ The old man replied, ‘It is only its nature to sting. My nature is to save. Why should I change my nature because of the scorpion’s nature?’”
       Fr. Nil applies this story to Jesus’ lesson on forgiveness, saying, “In the mind of Jesus, it must be part of a Christian nature to forgive, however difficult it might be. Forgiveness is an essential condition to be a Christian” (Nil Guillemette, Kindlings, p. 251).
       Jesus is not demanding something that’s impossible for us to do. He forgave a woman caught committing adultery. As a sign of forgiveness, He invited Himself into the house of a sinner, the tax collector Zacchaeus. Finally, He died a horrible death on the cross for the forgiveness our sins. In every confession we make, we experience the limitless forgiveness of a merciful God.
       St. John Paul II gave a beautiful example of Christian forgiveness. After he was shot and critically wounded on May 13, 1981 by Mehmet Ali Agca, he later went to the prison cell of his assassin and forgave him. In 2000, he even asked the Italian president to pardon Ali Agca who had been sentenced to lifetime imprisonment.
       Forgiveness does not come easy. It takes prayer to have the grace to forgive. We need to be more mindful when we say, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” In other words, God forgives us depending on how we have forgiven others. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Do you have difficulties in forgiving others? Do you find strength by looking at the cross?
 
Lord, I have often struggled to forgive someone who has hurt me. Today’s reflection encourages me to follow Your example and to become more forgiving.

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