24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – September 17, 2017

Forgiveness:

The feast of God and man

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
https://youtu.be/acjgzXKDHu8

 

Introduction

 

“Do not break the tenuous link of friendship because, once broken, even if later you fix it, a node always remains.” I attended elementary school when the teacher gave me this advice that remained in my memory. It comes back to mind every time I’m aware of contrasts, misunderstandings, disagreements. It upsets me to think that a mistake is enough to put an end, forever, to a friendship, that relationship the Bible calls the “balm of life” (Sir 6:16). “Like a bird, you have let your friend go, you will not get him back. Do not pursue him, he is far away” (Sir 27:19-20). The inability to forgive, the fear of giving full confidence again to one who did wrong are the evil forces that make irretrievable the bond of broken love.

 

We forgive ourselves with difficulty: we torment ourselves with remorse. We do not accept the humiliation of a weakness. We drag our fault behind as an unexploded, dangerously not triggered bomb. Only one who has a peaceful relationship with oneself is able to recognize one’s own mistake. He knows that a positive recovery from a bitter experience of sin is possible.

 

We do not forgive others. The disappointment, the delusion of betrayal, the fear that it may be repeated are too big. The urge to break the relationship and to take revenge for the offense suffered are almost unrestrainable.

 

Sucked into this whirlwind of passions and resentments, we let the greatest joy escape. It is the joy which God also experiences a hundredfold when he manages to revive a love relationship. Even to one who is old, he always gives the opportunity to start again, giving him back a perennial youthfulness.

 

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
Our resentments do not prevail but the action of your Spirit.”

 

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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – September 10, 2017

How to help God find his treasure

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
https://youtu.be/4iLMP-hBMpY

 

Introduction

 

The mentality of this world evaluates people based on the success they get, the qualities they have and the wealth they accumulate. It influences Christians in a subtle, almost imperceptible way like a snake creeping between the cracks of a rock. The genius, athletes, eminent personalities, anyone who proves to possess special aptitudes are sought after and admired. The weak, the poor, the unskilled, the handicapped seem to many people—even if it is difficult to admit—almost a cumbersome baggage.

 

The community that boasts of its “heroes” and feels an unacknowledged rejection of sinners, considers them ballast, dry branches, a “disgrace” for the whole family. It shows to have assimilated the criteria of this world, not those of God who is in love with the last, those who do not count. He declared his love to the most insignificant of the people, Israel, thus: “You are precious in my sight, and important—for I have loved you” (Is 43:4).

 

The prospect of Jesus is identical: “the small ones” are at the center of his community’s attention. They are God’s treasure, the precious pearl for which it is worth to scour every corner of the world; the jewel that brings overflowing joy to whoever finds it (Mt 13:44-46). The rabbis said: “The Lord rejoices in the resurrection of the righteous and the destruction of the wicked.” The God of Jesus is more pleased when a sinner returns than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray (Mt 18:13).

 

Only if we are included among the righteous of God who “has chosen the poor” (Jas 2:5) and turns his gaze on the humble (Is 66:2), we are in the right disposition to grasp the message of today’s readings.

 

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
Experience the joy of the Lord who brings a brother to life.”

 

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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – September 3, 2017

Offer life if you don’t want to lose it

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
https://youtu.be/8LqT0iU4LFg

 

Introduction

 

In the days of trouble” (Ps 77:3) we call upon the Lord because we are convinced that “he gives life and breath and everything else to everyone” (Acts 17:25). We appeal to the saints, visit shrines, kiss relics, make novena …. always to have life.

 

The crowds were seeking Jesus, “they tried to dissuade him from leaving” (Lk 4:42). They touched him “because of the power that went out from him and healed them all” (Lk 6:19). They approach him for life. “I have come—he said—that they may have life, life in all its fullness” (Jn 10:10).

 

Yet in his proposal, there is something of a paradox, indeed, absurd. To achieve the life it is necessary to lose it, “I lay down my life to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down freely” (Jn 10:17-18). He justifies his choice of comparing himself to the seed: “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn 12:24).

 

It really takes a lot of faith to be convinced that, in order to have life, you have to “give it up to death” (Rev 12:11). Strange, disconcerting logic! God assures Abraham a posterity as numerous as the stars in the sky … and asks him to sacrifice his son Isaac, who should make the promise a reality. A test like this may well be faced only by one who firmly believes, like Abraham.

 

Jesus promises to introduce the disciple into life. “The one who follows me will have the light of life … will never see death … will never experience death” (Jn 8:12,51-52) … and goes toward the cross; he plunges into the waters of death.

 

But “he will re-emerge” on Easter Day. Blessed are those who have the courage to follow him: he will give them to eat of the “tree of life” (Rev 2:7). They will be with him forever (1 Thes 4:17) and they shall see God as he is (1 Jn 3:2).

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

 

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