Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuesday of 3rd Week

Fresh from his encounter with the Spirits, Scrooge rushes early to his office to catch Bob Cratchit arriving late - and throws him into the street. George Bailey winks up at Clarence, sings Auld Lang Syne with his family and neighbors – and tells the policemen to arrest Uncle Billy for thievery. Of course neither story ends that way. They can't. What might have been understandable, if not likeable, earlier on would now be inhuman – a man forgiven a debt he cannot pay simply does not turn around and exact revenge for it. Yet that is exactly what happens in Jesus' parable today – a story of Israel as a whole, and of each of us individually, when we refuse to forgive those who sin against us. What we owe to each other is nothing compared to what we owe to God, and He forgave us even as we crucified Him: how can we not in turn forgive each other? We are to do it “seventy-seven times”- in other words, as often as we need to; it is to be a habit for us. We are to do it from the heart – counterpoint to Christ's warning against harboring anger against your brother in your heart. We have recourse, every day this Lent, to the forgiveness of our sins in Confession. Our forgiveness of each other must be no less often.

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