Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 18:21—19:1

“So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

Our truest home is the home where we find the deepest sort of forgiveness.  In this home we find a selfless and generous forgiveness that seeks to build up the one who has committed a transgression.  The Church, through which we share in the Body of Christ, is our “home of homes”.

By right, we should feel most at home before the altar, because it is there that we rejoice in the source of all forgiveness.  But in the Church during the Eucharist, we give thanks not only for the forgiveness wrought by Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross.  We also give thanks for the fact that when we share fully in the Eucharist, we receive not only a share in Christ’s forgiveness; we receive a share in the life of Christ himself.  We receive not only the Forgiver’s forgiveness.  We receive the Forgiver.

To receive forgiveness is to be restored to our former self.  But to receive the Forgiver means something greater.  It means not simply that we’re restored to our former self, but that we’re raised from our state of sinfulness even higher than our original state, to a share in the life of the Forgiver’s Self.  We share in the life of Christ, and so are given the power to forgive others as Christ offers forgiveness:  to all persons, in all circumstances, for ever and ever.