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06/12/16 - Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Ron

Homily Summary for the

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Deacon Landry


When asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray, Jesus Christ responded with the ultimate prayer. It is concise, addresses everything it should, and provides us with words to live by. I refer, of course, to the Lord's Prayer. Included within those sacred words is one of the most difficult challenges that any Christian confronts: forgiveness.

Forgiveness not only in terms of our forgiving others, but the humbling recognition that we are in need of forgiveness ourselves. Today's passage from Sacred Scripture is one of the most powerful there is. It calls upon us to perform some very difficult tasks. As our Lord put it so succinctly: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

As we reflect on Luke's gospel, there are some significant factors that are left to our interpretation. What were the real intentions of this Pharisee who invites this troublesome prophet to his home? A Pharisee would pride himself in socializing only with most respected elite of the community. And as Jesus points out, Simon has shown him no hospitality; so we are left suspicious of the host's intentions.  How is it that this woman, recognized by all those attending as a sinner—and therefore certainly not welcome in the company of these righteous men—is able to stroll in and have this encounter with Jesus?

How many of us, when hearing that the theme of today's homily was forgiveness, assumed we would hear about our need to forgive others? Jesus, however, has much more to say—and in doing so exposes one of his greatest conflicts with the Pharisees. And so, what does this have to do with any of us? For this, we turn to the parable Jesus tells Simon and his guests.

In the parable, both men are debtors—but one owes ten times as much as the other. Yet, both are forgiven their debt. To which Simon responds that he supposed the greater debtor would love his creditor more. And there it is. Jesus clearly points out—actually the righteous Pharisee points out for everyone to see—that this sinner who was forgiven so much has so much for which to be grateful, and is therefore more capable of loving than those who perceive themselves to be in need of little or no need for forgiveness.

Something subtle, and yet profound, has occurred here. Jesus Christ has now exposed the Pharisees for what they are—self-righteous individuals who are incapable of the love shown by the forgiven sinner because they lack the humility to recognize themselves as sinners; a fact made ever more evident by how they avoid any perception of having anything to do with sinners and their pompous attitude about themselves.

 So today we not only reflect upon our need to forgive others, but on our need to recognize our own need for forgiveness first and foremost. And only then can we be filled with the love required to truly forgive others.

In a time and culture in which only the religious authorities were considered to be worthy of the love of God, Jesus enters the world and preaches that God forgives and loves us all. And rather than cause us to hang our head in shame, Jesus took our sin to the Cross with him and died for our sins in unquestionable proof  of how much he loves us and how far he is willing to go to bring sinners back to God.

If we are truly grateful to our Lord for his forgiveness, overcome with gratitude, only then will we be capable of the tremendous love it takes to forgive and fully love others. The Sacrament of Reconciliation provides us with the opportunity to experience what the woman in today's gospel did.

As mentioned earlier, it is likely that Jesus forgave the woman even before the dinner. Note what our savior says at dinner: "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." It's as if God's forgiveness might seem to good to be true, so our Savior reassures her. We all need that, and yet some of us have not been to Confession in quite sometime. Go. And then with your heart filled with joy you can utter the following awesome words "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us And then act on them.


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