Homily – 11th Sunday in Ordinary time, Year C 2016
A guy bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for her birthday.
After hearing about this extravagant gift, a friend of his said, “I thought she wanted one of those sporty four-wheel-drive vehicles.”
“She did,” he replied. “But where was I going to find a fake Jeep?”
William Miller, in The Joy of Feeling Good, relates the story of a woman who went to a psychiatrist because she was severely depressed. As her therapist began to probe her emotions, he discovered she had never worked through the death of her husband many years before. Her husband had died one week after President Kennedy was assassinated. This woman had watched with admiration how well Mrs. Kennedy handled the shock and trauma of her husband’s death, and when her own husband died, she made up her mind to be just as composed, calm, and brave, saying to herself, “If Jackie Kennedy can do it, so can I.” She did not realize that Jackie Kennedy on national television was not Jackie Kennedy behind the scenes, sharing her heartbreak with her family and friends. So that woman’s grief remained repressed because she never let herself express what she was really feeling. (1) Have you ever known what it is to have a breaking heart? Have you ever let go and let the tears fall without regard for what others might think? Luke tells us about a woman who did just that. He tells us about a woman at Jesus’ feet at a banquet, whose heart was breaking in two.
The other day I was talking to a person and she asked me a question, ‘if my friend does not forgive me, what shall I do? I am happy to give anything in return, even a million dollars if she is ready to forgive me because her resentment puts an extra heavy load on me even though I am sorry for what had happened.
Nowadays people seem very hard to practice forgiveness in daily life. That is the reason why we hear news of wars everywhere and people are fighting and killing each other. What is the importance of forgiveness?
1) I can forgive another person only if I realize that I am not perfect either. If I look back to my past life, I cannot be that hard to another person because I was not perfect throughout my life and I am having a peaceful life at the expense of other’s forgiveness and mercy.
2) Forgiveness is not casual to say, “oh that’s alright.” Rather, it is a costly acceptance. Acceptance that does not deny the pain of what has happened, but we try to get up and move and continue being human.
3) Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.
4) The benefits of forgiving someone are: Healthier relationships, Greater spiritual and psychological well-being, Less anxiety, stress and hostility, Lower blood pressure, Fewer symptoms of depression, Stronger immune system, Improved heart health, Higher self-esteem. Additional studies using highly sophisticated imaging equipment to detect changes in brain functioning associated with forgiveness suggest potential for better understanding the link between forgiveness, mental states, and general health.
Today’s readings give us an invitation to repent, do penance and renew our lives instead of carrying the heavy baggage of our sins. Our God is a God Who always tries, not to punish, but to rehabilitate sinners, so that we may be made whole and experience inner peace and harmony.
Although it is not easy, we must learn to forgive those who hurt us if we want to be able to receive the daily forgiveness we need from a merciful God. We start forgiving when we try our best to patch up quarrels, misunderstandings and disagreements and pray sincerely for the well-being of our offenders.
We pray, “Lord Jesus, your grace is sufficient for me. Fill my heart with love and gratitude for the mercy you have shown to me and give me joy and freedom to love and serve others with kindness and respect.”