Homily: The readiness to reconcile with others...
By Mons. Peter Jeffrey:
“How many people perhaps without realising it, are arrogant, are rough, do not have cordial relationships with others? This must be overcome by carrying out concrete gestures of reconciliation … and request forgiveness for our faults”. That was a statement of Pope Francis on 10th December last year.
There is a huge challenge in the Scripture Readings this weekend. They are about the path towards Reconciliation. In the 1st reading, David could easily have killed Saul but he takes the spear away.
What is the source of that readiness to reconcile with others and to be forgiving? Our hearts grow towards that when we recognise and experience the lavish forgiveness of God. There are beautiful phrases in the Responsorial Psalm like “My soul give thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings”.
However, there is more. Jesus takes this further in the Gospel we have Jesus saying – “Love your enemies; give to anyone who asks; be compassionate as your Father is compassionate”.
At an early age, children learn to share. It is fascinating to see children in the playground dividing something that they are to share. You often see them making sure the pieces are equal. Rarely do you see one child say to the other “You can have it all”. Keep that challenge in mind as we explore a little the readings in our Mass today.
They lead up to the Gospel passage. Our second reading from Paul to the Corinthians contrasts the first Adam and Christ whom he calls the second Adam. We are born descendants of the first Adam but by ‘grace’ we are to become brothers and sisters of the second Adam – Christ.
This is so counter-cultural. We only have to listen to the TV news or read the Dailies to realise that we live in a grievance culture, a world of “#MeToo”, of the increasing marginalization of institutions. There is growing anxiety in society as to who to trust to lead us well. We both individually and communally need reconciliation.
Instead of looking for the things that diminish us or make us feel ‘overlooked’ we need to look to the things that join us together in solidarity with others.
It is very timely that we will be having home group meetings for the families who have children preparing to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation.
However, we all need to reflect on the challenges of small reconciliations with our family, friends and neighbours. Small ‘r’ reconciliations are what we do daily, routinely, sometimes without thinking too much when we want things to work better. Am I right in suggesting that sometimes we need to make sure that relationships take priority over other things that get in the way! Small reconciliations are being big enough not to hold grudges.
You know that Reconciliation is at the heart of Catholic theology or thought. Jesus reconciled us to the Father. If we are to right our relationships, globally, nationally, locally and at home we need to start with reconciliation in our own hearts! This we know from personal experience is not always easy; it can be in our personal prayer.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta reminds us “Yesterday is gone; tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin!
*Seventh Sunday Ordinary Time