Forgiveness is Profound Healing

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The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Magdaleno Fabiosa, SVD (Tagbilaran City, Bohol)

Friday 1st Week in Ordinary Time

Credit to the owner of the Photo

Jesus, as a teacher, has the art of making what is happening around him the subject of his teaching. The paralytic in today’s gospel allowed Him to explain a new word of God: forgiveness. Jesus cured the paralyzed person and forgave his sins. The scribes questioned what Jesus had done. “Who can forgive sins but God?” Jesus took this issue of forgiveness as the entry point for what he wanted to share: forgiveness is not the exclusive right of God; it is the shared duty of all who would follow him. Jesus wants everyone to imitate God’s practice of forgiving sins. When he taught his disciples to pray to the Father, he included the commitment to forgive: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

I remember a fifty-year-old woman’s war with forgiveness. Hurt by a colleague’s comment, she stopped talking to her and hated every occasion of being near her. She suffered two years of migraine, high blood pressure, and stomach ulcers because she was unwilling to forgive. But with God’s grace, she eventually swallowed her pride and initiated to forgive. Liberated from a heavy burden, she felt like she had gone out into the light of day after years of darkness.

Forgiveness is the most profound healing a person can experience. People can remain disfigured and paralyzed spiritually when they live without forgiveness. Unwillingness to forgive can keep us imprisoned in our hatred and heavily chained with the desire to revenge – a situation that Jesus opposes with all his might.

God’s generosity for forgiveness is impeccable. The problem is not with God’s forgiveness but with our own. Jesus’ concern is to involve us in the same work and commitment to forgive those who sin against us.

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