Gospel: (Luke 6:39-45)
Jesus said to his disciples: “Why look at the speck in your brother’s eye when you miss the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck from your eye,’ yet fail yourself to see the plank lodged in your own? Hypocrite, remove the plank from your own eye first; then you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Most of us think that we have more forgiveness to give than to receive. We like to think that more people are unfair or unjust to us than we are to them. Because we think in that way, we find it hard to offer forgiveness, real forgiveness, to others. We think much more of how hard it is for us to forgive than we do about the difficulty that others have in forgiving us. We measure out our forgiveness like money, very carefully and with much calculation. I doubt if we use the same care when we come to measuring the cost of that forgiveness which we expect and receive from others. If we spent more time thinking about what it costs others to forgive us, rather than about what it costs us to forgive others, we would be more successful in taking resentment out of our hearts. (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p.566)
For Vincentians, who think much about the poverty and hunger in our country, and of what we could do to alleviate it, how much thought have we given to forgiveness? It is probably true that the very fact of the present unequal distribution of wealth in the United States causes resentment in the hearts of many of our poor brothers and sisters. Where there is resentment, there is need for offering forgiveness. So we, who have more of the world’s goods, may be more in need than we realize of receiving forgiveness. St. Vincent is quoted as saying that “it is only because of our love, only our love, that the poor will forgive us the bread we give to them.” Today, as in Vincent and Frederic’s day, people do not live by bread alone. The bread we offer must be seasoned well with the condiments of justice and love. (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p.566-567)
Discussion: (Share your thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence)
How have you found that the poor indeed “forgive us” when we serve in love?
When we feel resentment in our hearts,
-Lord, give us the grace to forgive.
When we see the speck in our brother or sister’s eye,
-Lord, give us the grace to see the plank in our own.
When we serve our poor brothers and sisters,
–Lord, give us the grace to serve with love. Amen