23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - 6/9/2020 - Gospel: Mt 18: 15-20
Good feelings or bad feelings reveal the moods of our inner life. When we are in a good mood, we are happy . We enjoy life and make others around us happy.  When we are in a bad mood, we feel life is miserable. We feel sad, and people around us are likely affected. Things that we have heard or seen from the outside world affect our inner life. To change the ill feelings we need to remove or put the bad things under control. Forgiveness plays a vital role in turning negative feelings to positive feelings.  When we forgive someone who caused us pain and hurt; it doesn't mean the pain and hurt has gone. It means we don't want to live with negative feelings any longer. We don't want to stew, and keep alive the feelings of hurt, anger and resentment. The more we keep them alive, the more they intensify, and the more harm they cause, especially to us. Our body reacts to bad feelings by activating toxic chemicals that harm our wellbeing. Forgiveness is the way out. It has the power to heal, to put the hurt and pain in a powerless mood. A person will not live happily until s/he eliminates the harmful substances. Forgiveness is the best antidote to ill feelings. Negative feelings kill peace. Positive feelings create peace and joy. Forgiveness begins from within. One needs to heal his/her inner life first before s/he is able to forgive a person who harmed him/her. People who are able to forgive are happy people. Forgiveness is the sign of inner strength. It has the power to heal the hurt, and then empowers one to forgive the offender. Humility helps us to see our own vulnerability, and then recognizing our weakness as well as the weakness of others leads us to forgive.  

Forgiveness is God's way. It is God, Who first reconciled us to Himself, and then taught us to reconcile with one another as soon as the hurt starts. Jesus taught his apostles, and us, about the power of forgiveness, when He taught the prayer known as 'The Lord Prayer', '...Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us...'. Mat 6,10ff. Refusing to forgive is the worst kind of temptation, because it makes our present life miserable, and destroys eternal life. Forgiveness is so important that it is celebrated as a Sacrament of the Church.  The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the bridge connecting us with one another and with God. It brings peace, joy and healing. It eases life's heavy burden. It liberates a person, free from the vile ills of arrogance. It removes the bondage of sin that leads to destruction. Forgiveness means we welcome God into our lives, to be at home with God. Refusing to forgive means to remain resentful and hang on to bad feelings. The Bible text says, if a person reconciles that person remains a member of the faith community. It also says, the voice of the faith community has more weight than the voice of an individual. When one of its members refuses to comply with the voice of the faith community, then the membership of that person is in question. The connection between the faith community and its members coexists. Refusing to listen to the voice of the community blocks that connection. Reconciliation removes that blockage. Forgiveness is the sign of trust. The offender may experience the power of being forgiven of his/ her wrong doing and come to appreciate the goodness of life. We give thanks to God for the Sacrament of Healing.