Monday of the Thirty Second Week in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel, Jesus starts of in a very strong note. He is very stern against scandalous behaviour. “It is better for the person to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hanging from his/her neck.” A Christian is supposed to be Alter Christus – i.e. to be the Way to the father, who is the Truth and the Light. Thus, he is entrusted with such a huge and divine task. And we have been instructed by pure wisdom: Let thforge world know that we are Christians by our love. When we fail in this divine duty, we fail all those who are entrusted with us. In spite of all temptations, our Christian prayer and call is to deliver ourselves and others from the temptations and powers of evil. Jesus, himself showed us the model, when he overpowered evil always and ultimately on the Cross.
However, to stop reading this passage at the very first verse would be still more scandalous. Stopping there, would prompt us to develop a Pharisaic attitude of rigidness, which Jesus strongly condemned. As we read ahead, we see what the Christian attitude should be: FORGIVE. To correct implies forgiveness. We can’t correct someone without intending to forgive. It is humane to make mistakes, yet God has endowed man with the capacity to repent, a conscience that wouldn’t rest till it rests in God. Thus, it is our Christian duty to forgive, for we have been forgiven without conditions.
If we try to see this as one unit, instead of seeing it as series of instructions, one could see that Jesus, in the large picture is telling us it is scandalous not to forgive.
Yet, I know how very abstract it sounds to preach on forgiveness; how painful and difficult it is to put it into practice. Yet, there is no other way to learn to forgive than by forgiving and we are not short of that opportunity. So, we can start anytime, before it is too late. Let us not forget that forgiveness is the bridge that helps us cross the abyss that separates us from the Divine. “To err is human, to forgive is divine.”