February 20, 2022 – 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/022022.cfm)
“To err is human. To forgive is divine.” Surely, we you have heard these words before and could easily agree and resonate with it.
“To err is human.” This is true and normal for us, especially whenever we have hurt others, whenever we cannot forgive others, or whenever we have failed others. And our usual excuses are: “what can I do, I’m but just human”, or “I’m sorry. I’m not God who forgives. I’m just human and a sinner”. True, human as we are, we do wrong and commit sins and mistakes, through which we could easily hurt others. Due to our human weaknesses, we can hurt others, and others could also hurt us. Most of us could attest that it is but human and normal for us to do wrong and commit sin, thus can hurt, and be hurt by others. And amid these, we do need others to understand, forgive and love us.
However, based from our own experience, it is also difficult to forgive others, especially when our enemies who have hurt us. Just like Abisai in our first reading, usually when opportunity comes, it is normal for us to take revenge or even in return hurt our enemies. Usually, it is not easy for us to forgive people who have hurt us. And we recognize we do need God’s Help and Grace for us to understand and forgive them. For us then, to forgive is a divine or holy or godly behavior and action.
We must consider that when he said these, Jesus also experienced and felt the pain, hurt, and suffering caused by his enemies. Like us, Jesus also has his own enemies, who have hurt him. There were also people who hated him, rejected him, and even caused his death. And for Jesus, it is also difficult to love our enemies. He knows and understands how difficult for us in our life-relationships to heed these words – to practice what he preached, to follow his own advice.
But still, Jesus challenges us to carry out this command because he knows that human as we are, we CAN and are capable of forgiving others. Though difficult, it does not mean that we are not capable of loving our enemies. Though difficult, we can and it is possible for us to love and forgive others, simply because we do have the ability to forgive and love others. Human as we are, we also have the freedom and potential to forgive and love others. Though difficult, compared to animals, we human have the freedom and option to forgive or not to forgive, those who have hurt us. Meaning, to forgive and love our enemies is not only divine but also human.
God indeed is the source of love and forgiveness. It is divine and godly to forgive and love our enemies. But God’s forgiveness and love is revealed Through Us – in and by our own decision and openness to receive and share God’s love to others. Meaning, though we are weak and slow to forgive others, like David, in faith we can still decide and offer love and forgiveness to them by also accepting their own weakness and limitations, and by giving them another chance to repent and change their ways, same way as God and others would also give us another chance to change.
As Christians, we believe Jesus has saved us from our sinfulness. By his birth, death, and resurrection, he redeemed us, forgiven us of our sins and wrongdoings and has given us another chance. We are now then called to also forgive those who have sinned against us, AS we have also been forgiven. Human and Christ as he is, Jesus forgives us. Human and Christian as we are, we can also love and forgive our enemies.
Whenever we are hurt and are suffering from the sins caused by others, it is better for us to reflect and ask ourselves: “If God can grant me His mercy and forgiveness, how come I cannot forgive my enemies? God loved and have forgiven me, a sinner, how can I not love but hate my enemies? If God has given me another chance to grow, why deprive others of their chance also to grow through me?
Remember Jesus’ advice for us today: “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning for you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven …for the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”