MESSAGE FROM FR JOE (20/02/2022)

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 19th/20th February 202 TEMPERANCE SUNDAY

1 Sam. 26: 2,7-9,11-13,22-23         Ps102:1-4,8,10,12-13     1Cor. 15: 45-49              Lk6:27-38

Dear Parishioners,

Did Jesus really mean it when he said, ‘Love your enemies’ and ‘forgive seventy times seven’?  He not only meant it, but he carried it out in his own live and especially on the cross.  He spells out for us how we are to behave.  Be compassionate … do not judge… do not condemn … grant pardon … give freely … All of these activities were at the very core of Jesus’ ministry.

He would have been familiar with Psalm 102.  “The Lord is compassion and love.  The Lord is slow to anger and rich in mercy”.  When we ask for forgiveness, God ‘removes our sins as far as the east is from the west.’  There is no further point beyond that as we would be turning back from there on.  This is the magnitude of God’s mercy when we repent.  This example of supreme forgiveness is at the heart of Jesus own life and death.

On this Temperance Sunday, we pray for that virtue of doing things in moderation.  Whether it is alcohol intake of excesses in other areas of our lives, we need to avoid extremities.  As Oscar Wilde said: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”  This guide can be our own mantra.

This is the reason why we too need to be forgiving to each other.  We need to let go of anger, resentment, revenge and grudges.  Because God forgives us; Jesus has taken our sins and failings on himself, so that we can be reconciled to God and one another.  It is in forgiving others that we are forgiven by God.  By embracing mercy and forgiveness, we can in fact embrace peace, joy, gratitude and well-being.  By letting go of hurt, resentment and nasty thoughts of revenge can we make space for compassion, understanding and peace of mind …

Resentment and harbouring grudges can eat into the very core of our being.  It colours how we live and can remove the joys of life.  As we saw in the scriptures last week – “we have no eyes for goodness when it comes our way”.  It is not a question of forgetting the hurt done to us, but dealing with it … letting go … getting rid of the baggage that holds us down.

We can learn a lot from Ryanair.  The minimum of luggage!  Forgiveness means throwing the excess baggage overboard!  It can be such a relief when we let go.  Just think of examples of hurts or injustices done to us.  The more we hang on to them, the greater they become. 

God presses his delete button, we need to do the same!  We have many examples of forgiveness: Nelson Mandela, Mairead Corrigan, Gordon Wilson, Franz Jägerstätter to name but a few.

That all for this week, God bless, Fr Joe

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