*Homily Of 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time ( Year A)
The Ultimate Call/Goal of The Christian is to be Godlike – that is, to assume the Divine Nature of God. I see this expressed from the beginning of creation when God decided to make ‘Man’ in His Image and Likeness. Indeed, so was Man made!
The continuous disobedience of Man, never stopped God from still insisting on this Divine Purpose for Man, to be Godlike. For if ‘Man’ must dwell with Him in His Kingdom, then, Man must wear this Divine Nature. For “nothing defiled shall dwell in His Presence”. Thus in the whole of Scripture we continue to hear divine injunctions like “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Lev. 19:2) “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mat. 5:48). “Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
It is on this Divine injunction of Mercy and Forgiveness that our readings are hinged on today. Hence our Theme: Forgiveness Without Limit. But come to think of it, What Man can forgive without limit? For me, no ‘Man’ in his human nature can, except by Divine Grace; that is why, I believe that our readings today are calling us not to forgive as ‘human beings’ but as God forgives. And this can only be possible if we allow the Divine Nature in us to GROW.
Allowing the Divine Nature in us to grow, is the crux of our reflection today. In the first reading we were told, “forgive your neighbour … and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray”. By implication, if I don’t forgive, my prayers will not be heard. This account for so many unanswered prayers. Please think hard about this. Again it says, ” if he himself, being flesh, maintain wrath, will he then seek forgiveness from God? Who will make expiation for his sins?
Dearly beloved, God is asking us to look beyond our human ego, our pride, of prestige, our positions in life and so on, and let go. For if we hold of to these, we will never allow the Divine in us to forgive those who hurt us. That’s why the saying, “To err is human, but to forgive is divine”. Indeed, to forgive is truly Divine. So why not implore on the Divine to help you to forgive today, instead of relying on your human strength?
Of a truth, there is a divine nature in all of us. This nature which was restored on us at our baptism, is capable of doing the Will of God in us, if only will cooperation it. It is only then we can take to heart Paul’s words in the second reading today: None of us lives for himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, don’t live your life for yourself. Live as though you are living for God. Then you not be forgiving anyone, for yourself, but for God. Like our people will say, ‘if not for God I wouldn’t have forgiven you’. Let this be true in our lives.
Finally, we must all continuously remind ourselves, that the condition for which we are to be forgiven is that we must forgive others. Think about it! If I do not forgive those who have hurt me, my Father will not forgive me (cf. Mat. 6:14, 18:35). So, We Must Forgive! I pray for you today, that no hurt will be too great for you not to forgive. Shalom!