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Get into the ring! How this works...

This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Homily Prep March 10

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 9:30am at church and 11:00 at youth retreat

Atrophy of the Heart: Unforgiveness

You may have called it "holding a grudge" or simply complained about it "I just can't forgive". In whatever way you speak about the unforgiveness of the Christian heart it is atrophy of the Christian life.

I know I have spoken about the relatively young father of my college friend who had a serious stroke at age 54. His experience of immobility of his right hand and his therapy in recovering from the stroke is for me an image of the unforgiving Christian heart.

There is a condition called "rigor" that a muscle freezes in a position as it has lacked stimulation of the nervous system or the blood stream. The Christian heart is such a muscle. When we refuse to forgive or find it difficult to forgive, our hearts experience rigor, or hardness, and they are frozen in the defensive position.

The Prodigal Father shows us how fluid and functional is the heart of one who forgives, over and over again. Unforgiveness, or rigor of the Christian heart, may be the most significant and impactful condition afflicting the Christian community in the world.

How proficient are you in forgiving? That would probably be a great scale by which to measure your discipleship? Harden not your hearts!


anon 1 said...

I so much enjoyed the Souls on Fire Faith Formation discussion on this topic of forgiveness and the Prodigal Father that I can’t remember if my thinking on it now is a duplicate of that discussion, or has further developed in my own mind. But what comes to me in reading the Matador’s reflection is the question, what does forgiveness look like?

When I ask myself the Matador’s question, “how proficient am I at forgiving?,” I get caught up in that tangle of forgiving and forgetting. I have a hard time discerning the success of my ability to forgive. But, when I look at the actions of the father in this parable – his unquestioning generosity, his profound joy at the very sight of his younger son despite the hurt the son caused, the love and excessive hospitality he extends to that son and his eagerness to simply focus on his “resurrection”, and then the patience and cajoling approach that he takes with the older son – all of those actions paint a picture of forgiveness that say nothing about forgetting. Maybe it’s not at all about forgetting. It seems to me that it is really about loving; it’s about not harboring “old things that have passed away”, but rather “beholding what new things have come.” It’s about being willing to see “new creation” – not only seeing it, but embracing it, celebrating it. I like that.

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