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dc.contributor.authorBurke-Sullivan, Eileenen_US
dc.identifier.otherLectionary number: 238en_US
dc.description.abstractThere is no more central concept to the Christian Faith than Reconciliation. The necessity for forgiveness from God and the mandate from God for forgiveness of fellow human beings resides in the heart of the Gospel. But if meditating on and acting toward forgiveness and the various needs we have forgiving or being forgiven is one of the most fruitful ways to deepen our faith as believers in Jesus why is it so difficult? So confusing? Why does it require such intense scrutiny of our intentions, decisions and actions?|I posed a question to one of my younger family members early in the Lenten season about whether he thought forgiving someone else was more difficult than asking someone for forgiveness. The discussion that ensued with this remarkably thoughtful adolescent provided me with some days of reflection on the culture that we all swim in.|He suggested that forgiveness runs the risk of turning into a power issue. Who is up and who is down. The "victim" or "martyr" mentality encourages those who have suffered oppression, indignity or even personal slight to hang on to their pain and suffering as a counter weapon of domination. On the other side of the relationship coin, the too ready willingness to "forgive" may also be an exercise of dominating power by asserting the "high ground" over some of those "blind mice" that don't even know they need to be forgiven. Seeking forgiveness may be about seeking healing or it may be about short-circuiting my load of responsibility to remedy situations. Seeking forgiveness may not be genuine, and may be a way to re-establish an unhealthy relationship in order to continue predatory behavior. Because the ethos of forgiveness is so strong in the Christian message this kind of abusive behavior trades on gross misunderstandings of the real nature of reconciliation and can thrive among persons who do not have healthy images of God or self.|Combining the factor of forgiveness's necessity in sustaining human community, with the factor of human penchant for doing harm toward fellows, it should not be surprising that that we can and do corrupt the very concept of forgiveness _ turning it into a weapon to further offend and oppress from any relational direction. Recognizing this we echo Paul's cry in Romans: "Who will rescue us?" and again, his response: "Thanks be to God for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!"|The first reading from the liturgy today demonstrates a way to ask for forgiveness and support: trust that God loves me, acknowledge that I am NOT God (i.e. in control) and therefore need God's mercy; and then allow God to be and to do whatever God deems is necessary and appropriate in any moment of existence _ even in the midst of the hottest crisis possible _ as it seems Azariah was, speaking from the heart of the fire. This model also works when seeking forgiveness from sisters or brothers that we have harmed or offended. We ask genuine forgiveness with the expectation that there may be some indebtedness to rectify by future behavior, and we allow them the freedom to enact forgiveness or not as they are capable of doing. Finally we are truly grateful when forgiveness is extended.|The Gospel reading provides the very powerful measure of authenticity for our own extension of forgiveness when we are the victims of harm: recognize clearly what we have received from God's mercy and then behave in like manner. What God has done, so we must do. When we wield forgiveness as a weapon to harm others it is most often because we have not been able to receive or even to perceive what God has been and is now doing far more dramatically to forgive us.|To forgive is to remember, to be grateful, and in humility to know the truth about our needs. Then we are overjoyed when God can use our lives to extend Divine Mercy toward others seventy-seven or an infinite number of times.|reflection.en_US
dc.publisherUniversity Ministry, Creighton University.en_US
dc.rightsThese reflections may not be sold or used commercially without permission. Personal or parish use is permitted.en_US
dc.titleReflection for Tuesday, March 16, 2004: 3rd week in Lent.en_US
dc.rights.holderUniversity Ministry, Creighton University.en_US
dc.publisher.locationOmaha, Nebraska, United Statesen_US
dc.program.unitCollege of Arts and Sciencesen_US
dc.contributor.cuauthorBurke-Sullivan, Eileen C.en_US 3en_US
dc.subject.local1Daniel 3:25, 34-43en_US
dc.subject.local2Psalms 25:4-5ab, 6, 7bc, 8-9en_US
dc.subject.local4Matthew 18:21-35en_US
dc.title.seriesDaily Reflections (Meditations) on the Scriptures from the Roman Catholic Lectionary.en_US IIen_US

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    Reflections written by Creighton University faculty, staff, and administrators on the daily mass readings.

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