The Eucharist is a banquet that nourishes, celebrates and unites our lives. Christ himself feeds us with his Body and Blood so that we might grow in grace. Two simple questions follow from this great gift:
Are we coming?
Are we coming prepared?
For always remember that one day we will stand before the One who is the source of all grace…and what then will we say?
Luke’s Gospel offers a condensed version of Lord’s Prayer from what we commonly pray in the Gospel of Matthew. Because of it’s brevity, we can clearly see the emphasis on the holiness of God the Father, the Kingdom, trust in God, forgiveness and protection from evil. May we keep praying everyday!
It’s non-negotiable. Forgiveness is a key ingredient in the Christian life and without it we cannot receive the grace that the Lord lavishes upon us. Who do we need to forgive? To whom do we need to ask for forgiveness? May we call upon God’s grace for the strength we need to be people who put forgiveness into practice.
Let’s take a quick look at a sketch of the readings:
1st Reading – Forgive your neighbor, so that the Lord will forgive you
Psalm – “The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.”
2nd Reading – We live and die for the Lord
Gospel – We forgive others, just as our Father forgives us
On one hand the teaching is simple: if you want to be forgiven by God, start forgiving one another. It’s sound logic and makes complete sense…until you have something hard to forgive. Perhaps we have felt slighted or neglected, been hurt or experienced disappointment. Maybe we just don’t understand, or maybe we are choosing to interpret a situation in its worst possible light.
Forgiveness is the practical dimension of Christian love. After all, it’s easy to love people when we are comfortable, rested, calm and free of all distractions. The real test of our love happens when we can forgive one another in the light of Jesus Christ.
The Lord offers us the teaching of forgiveness with clarity and conviction. There is no middle ground. We forgive one another if we expect God to forgive us of our own sins. We forgive, knowing that we all stand in need of God’s forgiveness, so that by unlocking the gates of our hearts through forgiveness we can stand before the Lord ready to receive the grace of his mercy.
Two thoughts then emerge today:
Who do I need to forgive?
To whom do I need to apologize and ask for forgiveness?
May the Lord inspire us to be people of forgiveness as we practice his teaching and follow his example.
The death of John the Baptist is an outrage, a stark example of human cruelty that assaults our sensibilities. While we acknowledge the presence of violence and hatred in our world we continue to see in the Cross of Christ God’s response: a love that embraces our sins.