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Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the first reading, David spared Saul’s life in spite of the fact that Saul intended to kill him. The theme of this story is continued in the teachings of Jesus, who placed great emphasis on the need to forgive. In the prayer he gave us, we ask  pardon from the Father, as we grant it to others. Luke paints a picture of this Father who yearns to embrace his wayward boy in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). He watches out anxiously for him until his son decides to come home. On the other hand, the steward whose debt is cancelled but who refuses to cancel the debt of his fellow servant is severely punished (Matt. 18:21-35). Jesus was preaching against a background of self-righteous people who shunned sinners and prided themselves on being virtuous.

Forgiving those who have grievously hurt us is not easy and often takes time. However, allowing resentment, bitterness or desire for revenge to build up within ourselves creates a  corrosive poison. When we forgive, healing begins; and though we may not be able to forget, we can separate ourselves from the person and the event so they cease to have any power over us. Jesus spent his life offering his forgiveness and seeking out the company of sinners. As he hung in agony on the cross he forgave those who had inflicted the suffering and brought comfort to the thief, promising him paradise.