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The good news for the day August 11

Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time (416)

Peter came to Jesus to ask him, “Sir, if someone in my family hurts or upsets me, how often do I have to forgive? Seven times?” Jesus answers, “This is the truth I am telling you: not 7 times, but 77 times.” (Matthew 18)

You and I know real forgiveness is hard—hard to start, and hard to finish. It is hard to ASK FOR FORGIVENESS when you have done the offense, when you have blundered into a condemnation too quickly, used a word you didn’t mean to, or raised your voice in a tone of voice too angry or condescending. Maybe you realize you have one-upped yourself to put someone else down. Now you realize that what you just did was pride—a disrespect for your brother or sister when you said, “I am ‘more right’ than you are!” Oh, and there are much greater faults for which you ask forgiveness.

It is also hard to FORGIVE SOMEONE ELSE—to humble yourself when you ARE right. You feel absolutely righteous about someone’s stupid, angry rant against you or against someone or something you hold dear. Can you forgive apparent cruelty spoken or done to someone you love—against a person, a belief, or a group? You do not want to forgive that because you feel so sure you are in the right and that they are wrong—and it looks like you are condoning evil. But you need to forgive—“they know not what they are doing,” He says this exactly when least expected.

We know it is often complicated. It takes prayer and reflection—to forgive and be forgiven. Mutual forgiveness, though, lies at the heart of your peace of heart. It is no common thing, nor easy. But it is the very bloodstream of love, like the self-denial of getting out of bed; it sometimes takes great courage, to become alert, caring. True courage asks forgiveness—but more asks to be forgiven. Authentic forgiveness does not “forget and forgive”—the Good News is that we really cannot forget, but forgive anyway.

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