FINDING PEACE IN FORGIVENESS

Thursday 13th August – Thursday of week 19 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 18:21- 19:1

FINDING PEACE IN FORGIVENESS

One major determinant of peaceful co-existence is ‘forgiveness’. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus indicates what we wish ourselves each time we pray the “Lord’s Prayer”: that when we do not forgive others, we can never receive forgiveness from God in heaven. Where there is no forgiveness, there can never be peace. Little wonder there is a multiplication of chaos, anarchy, and terrorism among other vices in our families, Churches, local communities and the world at large today. These vices are  consequences of unforgiveness.

Beloved, to forgive may be difficult but it is a divine injunction which invokes God’s grace upon us. We can change the world by our personal resolution to do as God has directed us, bearing in mind the extent to which Christ suffered in order to bring us forgiveness. Indeed, more than anything else, Christ’s command to forgive is itself an invitation to share in the life of our Heavenly Father who constantly forgives us.

Is there someone you have sworn never to forgive or have anything to do with because of something bad he did to you? Reflect on Jesus’ words in today’s reading: “…and that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart” (Mt 18:35). Make up your mind today to forgive every hurt that comes your way. One practical way to achieve this is to readily forgive even before you are hurt. Though it may be difficult we can count on God’s grace. He will definitely help us.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please forgive me all my sins and give me the grace as I resolve to make peace with all men by compassionately forgiving those who hurt me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 24 – What does it mean to say, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”?

Merciful forgiveness—the mercy that we show to others and the mercy that we ourselves seek—is indivisible. If we ourselves are not merciful and do not forgive one another, God’s mercy will not reach our hearts.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Forgive your neighbour the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray” Sirach 28:2 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Joshua 3: 7-11, 13-17; Psalm 114: 1-6; Matthew 18: 21-19:1

BE AT PEACE WITH ALL MEN

Wednesday 12th August – Wednesday of week 19 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 18:15-20

BE AT PEACE WITH ALL MEN

In the process of interacting with other human beings, there is bound to be disagreement at one point or the other. However, continuous peaceful co-existence must always be found amidst children of God. Disagreements must not be allowed to linger; they should be resolved as quickly as possible. The duty to ensure peaceful co-existence amongst us lies on everyone – both the offending party and the one who is offended.

Contrary to the worldly view that the offending party should be the first to seek reconciliation, Christ has placed a higher responsibility on us His disciples. In today’s gospel reading, He asks us to take the lead in restoring peace even when we have been hurt by others and to be willing to go the extra mile in ensuring reconciliation if the offender remains stubborn. When necessary, we are to involve other brethren in a bid to ensure reconciliation.

Dear friend, we are called to seek peace with all men. Take some moments to examine yourself today. Is there anyone around you whom you are not at peace with? Is there anyone who has hurt you so much and you find it difficult to forgive? To be at peace with God, we must necessarily be at peace with our brothers and sisters. Today, make conscious efforts to seek reconciliation and ask for the grace to be an agent of peace wherever you find yourself.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I ask that you make me an agent of peace wherever I go that I may be called a true child of God. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 233– What sins must be confessed?

Under normal circumstances, all serious sins that one remembers after making a thorough examination of conscience and that have not yet been confessed can be forgiven only in individual sacramental confession.

HIDE A TREASURE: “If your brother sins against you, go to him and show him his fault. But do it privately, just between yourselves. If he listens to you, you have won your brother back” Matthew 18:15 GNB

Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Psalm 66:1-5, 16-17; Matthew 18:15-20

FORGIVENESS BRINGS PEACE

Thursday 9th July- Thursday of week 14 of the year

FORGIVENESS BRINGS PEACE

Genesis 44:18-21, 23-29; 45:1-5

Forgiveness to some people’s understanding, is “not returning hate with hate”; for others, it is the inner waiving of a legitimate right to revenge. It however, reaches its peak when no external circumstance is permitted to excuse pardoning others. Joseph had all the power and legitimate right to avenge the evil his brothers did to him, however, he chose to forgive them and offer a helping hand. One of the most beautiful things about forgiveness is that it can evoke love where it never existed and it ultimately gives peace to the one who forgives. Hatred can never conquer hatred, only love can do so (expressed in forgiveness). If someone wrongs you and you react in the same way, the vicious cycle of sin and hatred only continue. Forgiveness has a strong redemptive power.

Our Blessed Lord tells us in Matthew 5:38-48, “do not oppose evil with evil. If one slaps you on one cheek, turn the other…”  This calls us to forsake vengeance, to break the web of violence and wrongdoing. Our Blessed Lord told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. The means of expressing love to enemies comes first through forgiveness and in this act we find peace with ourselves and with God. Vengeance may seem make us happy with ourselves but never does it give us true peace with both man and God.

Dear friends in Christ, forgiveness is of the divine and no one can truly forgive except by the divine aid. Let us daily pray for the grace to forgive as the Lord forgives us our wrongdoings. Remember, in the light of eternal judgement, he who refuses to forgive others breaks down the bridge over which he himself must pass.

Prayer: Lord give me the grace to forgive my brethren as you Lord forgives me and help me understand that it is by forgiving others that I can receive mercy and peace. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC1446 – Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their basptisimal grace and wounded ecclesial communion.

Hide a Treasure: “If you do not forgive others, then your heavenly Father will not forgive you either.” Matthew 6:15

Today’s Reading: Genesis 44: 18-21, 23-29; 45: 1- 5, Psalm 105: 16-21, Matthew 10: 7-15

BLESSED ARE THE PEACE MAKERS

Monday 15th June – Monday of week 11 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 5:38-42

BLESSED ARE THE PEACE MAKERS

I ordinarily enjoy listening to news in other to keep abreast of happenings at the national and global levels. However, in recent times, it appears I am gradually losing my fondness for news, especially as it affects the world at large. Barely can you watch a news bulletin on the cable stations without the report of violence, killings and wars. Despite efforts by multinational bodies like the United Nations and the rest, sustainable peace remains elusive to many parts of the world. Man’s roadmaps to peace have failed again and again.

At the root of many conflicts are injustice, greed and pride. These are fuelled by lack of sincere reconciliation and forgiveness. Against the world’s belligerent and vengeful disposition to injustice and oppression, Christ advocates a peaceful and non-retaliatory resolution of differences. This is the stem of the Gospel message for today.

Beloved in Christ, how quick are you to retaliate unjust act done to you? Do you allow the sobriety and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to guide your actions or you are rather too hasty to follow the natural but rarely productive convention around you? If we would be peace makers, we must necessarily possess a good deal of meekness and forgiveness. We must constantly remind ourselves that the way of God, though sometimes look foolish to the world, clearly supersedes the ways of man. Let us stand as agent of peace in our world; let us model Christ response to injustice and be generous in forgiveness. Yes we can, through the help of the Holy Spirit (Philippians 4:13).

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please grant me a heart that is meek, loving and patient. Help me to be an agent of peace wherever I go. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 397What does Jesus think about nonviolence?

Jesus places a high value on nonviolent action. He commands his disciples: “Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Mt 5:39).

Hide a treasure: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5: 9 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: 2 Corinthians 6: 1-10; Psalm 98:1-4; Matthew 5:38-42