Have been still thinking about forgiveness. The Gospel reading our pastor used at Mass for Thanksgiving, and his homily, spoke to the point again. The Gospel was the parable of Jesus healing ten men, only one of whom returned to give thanks. The one giving thanks was a Samaratan. The priest preached on how so many of us feel entitled to the gifts we receive, and therefore, seldom give thanks. He asked the question, “How many of us thank our employer for our paycheck? We don’t because we feel we are entitled to it. We’ve earned it.” He said it was this way with the nine men who didn’t return to give thanks because they were faithful Hebrews, who, given the spirituality of the times, felt entitled to health and wealth because they followed the Law. The Samaratan, though, knew the forgiveness and healing he received was pure gift.
I believe the deeper we acknowledge our need for forgiveness, the more deeply we are called to forgive others. In this way, it would seem that those who do not acknowledge a need for forgiveness in their own lives are expected to forgive less deeply. I find this somewhat of a puzzle, perhaps disconcerting. I suppose that is why our Church and world need saints who are called to heroic lives of radical forgiveness, to make up for our own shallowness in forgiving others. Again, Jesus is the prime example.
The greatest evangelizer is perhaps the one who lives from a grateful heart, having ask for and received the forgiveness only Christ can offer in his Spirit. Jesus stood in our stead, and for us asked forgiveness from the Father and received it deeply and thoroughly. His entire life was a song of praise and gratitude to God for his bountiful love and forgiving heart.