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Forgive and Forget!

… a man’s words flow out of what fills his heart
Sirach 27:4-7; Psalm 92:2-3,13-16; I Corinthians 15:54-58; Luke 6:39-45

Sermon Week Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 6:45

A ninety-year-old man was asked why he remained a man of hope, even in the most challenging days. He replied,

Because I get up in the morning believing in the newness of God. I get up feeling that God's awesome work of creation is continuing. I get up feeling that God didn't just create the world in the long, long ago and then forgot about it. To me, that means that because I cannot fathom the mind of God, I must expect the unexpected as the usual, everyday way God's Providence is at work.

Luke's Gospel tells us that as Jesus prepared to deliver the Sermon on the Mount, a great crowd from many different places had gathered around Him, "and everyone in the crowd was trying to touch Him because power came out of Him that cured them all" (Lk. 6:19). Then, as we read in today's Gospel Lesson, He began to preach to them and, among many other things, He said this:

“Why do you observe the splinter in your brother's eye and never notice the plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter that is in your brother's eye” (Lk. 6:41,42).

It is safe to say, in the light of all the coming events in Jesus' life and ministry, that most of Jesus' listeners did not expect, nor did they accept His strong "Judge Not" admonition (any more than they expected or accepted Jesus' "Love your enemies" command in the same sermon). And, as Jesus' present-day listeners, we need to ask ourselves whether we've really come to expect and accept these very same teachings.

As Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, a large segment of His listeners' minds and hearts were stuck in the past, neither expecting nor accepting His call to change. They had long since closed the book on God's ways, saying in effect, "God Himself could not presume to teach us anything new." They were conditioned to reject, rather than expect the unexpected; to reject, rather than expect the [...]

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