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Browsing Reflections Archive

August 12, 2021

Daily Reflection for Thursday, August 12, 2021
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,

We encourage you to reflect on Thursday’s readings at this link:
Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time | USCCB

If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Joshua 3:7-10a, 11, 13-17
Responsorial: Psalm 114:1-6
Gospel: Matthew 18:21-19:1

Our reflection on Thursday’s readings:
So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.    
Matthew 18:35

I recently enjoyed a bike ride with my family.  It was a hot but breezy afternoon and it is always a joy to participate in a family activity, especially as my children’s ages increasingly remind me that their transition away from home will happen sooner rather than later.

I was struck, first, by the variety of yard signs and bumper stickers of the cars that passed us.  “Be kind.”  “We stand with blue.”  Rainbow flags waved on a couple of porches.  Black Lives Matter yard signs were seen and a Gadsden flag, too.   Abortion opinions were observed.  A presidential bumper sticker on a car passed closer and faster than I thought was prudent prompting me to think of a less-than-Christian-word to call them were they have been able to hear me.  Several yard signs implored, “Let kids be kids” and forego masking them in schools. 

Why is it, though I spoke with no one and knew no one who lived in the houses we passed or drove cars adorned with the above signage, that I began to feel a change in mood and actually felt offended by some?  The more offensive (to me) the signage, the easier it became to extrapolate and feel a degree of confidence in judging what people who lived there or drove by were like based on their outward facing message.

Second, I was struck that today’s Gospel message and its well-known invitation not to forgive 7 times but 77 times rang in my ear as if the homeowners and drivers listed above had indeed spoken to me and offended/sinned against me. 

In fact, regardless of their outward message, the reminder that lingered was less my own call to forgive but also my need to continue seeking God’s forgiveness the countless times that 77 represents because of my internal response and judgment of some others’ outward facing message. 

Like the Gospel passage from today, it is never hard for us humans to get caught in the cycle of feeling great offense when we feel sinned against while simultaneously generously filtering and assuaging ourselves for the very same action.  The invitation and the value both of forgiving and seeking forgiveness are equally potent.

What is your outward facing message?
What is your inward response to others’ signage?
What does God ask of us as brothers and sisters in service to one another?

Rafael Rosario


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