Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Each of You Forgives

Each of You Forgives

August 16, 2012
Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Now, son of man, during the day while they are looking on, prepare your baggage as though for exile, and again while they are looking on, migrate from where you live to another place; perhaps they will see that they are a rebellious house.  You shall bring out your baggage like an exile in the daytime while they are looking on; in the evening, again while they are looking on, you shall go out like one of those driven into exile; while they look on, dig a hole in the wall and pass through it; while they look on, shoulder the burden and set out in the darkness; cover your face that you may not see the land, for I have made you a sign for the house of Israel.  Ezekiel 12:3-6 

"'I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.  Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’  Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.  So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”  Matthew 18:32-35


Take notice of those in life that need forgiveness.  Start by gazing in the mirror. You know that the Father will forgive you.  Who are you being asked to forgive next?


The Word of God does not always reveal its true meaning to us easily.  At the beginning of this week, the prophet Ezekiel had to figure out (discern) what he was hearing in the sounds of the powerful winds on the mountaintop.  He was experiencing his own personal "transfiguration" encounter.  He wrestled with the meaning just as Peter, James and John did when they saw Jesus transfigured. 
In today's reading, Ezekiel hears the word of God more directly in the command to go out on the road as if in exile and bring a special message to the rebellious people through his actions -- without any special gift of prophesy through words.
Imagine just for a minute that we were personally given the same command as Ezekiel.
Imagine walking to the corner of say 16th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, and starting in our march away.  Maybe we would have a backpack slung over our shoulders or a U-Haul truck filled with our possessions. 
By the very act of leaving, would that alone be witness enough to cause change in the words and deeds of our neighbors?  Doubtful?  People are coming and going every day.  The rebellious generation in which we live would probably just mistake us for commuters or tourists. 
No matter how rebellious the current generations act, the bottom line is that the Father sends messengers of forgiveness to preach through words and deeds the need for change.  The Gospel reading underscores the same generous forgiving and loving spirit. 
As we look around, we are not asked to judge others.  We are asked to be the quiet witness.  Through our piety, study and forgiving action, the Lord sets us loose to bring back the rebels.


Rebel from the rebels.  If our generation has so rebelliously ignored the Word of God, then our only hope is to rebel against the rebels. 
Maybe it's more fun to be the rebel or the pirate, than it is to be the dutiful soldier or sailor.  Certainly images of hero like Luke Skywalker, Captain Jack Sparrow and Billy Jack make the fantasy of rebellion attractive.  But Ezekiel does not make being witness to the rebellion sound very attractive.  Nor does opting for forgiveness sound all that appealing.  Would not we also want to extract revenge and just payment from our debtors?
Who is in need of your loving forgiveness?  Get the love moving and put your revenge on a path to exile.

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