Eleventh Sunday – Ordinary Time Cycle C
Reflecting on Luke 7:36-8:3
Only a person who has messed up as many times as I have can really remember the great love that washes over the person who is forgiven. Here’s a story that kind of makes me shudder every time I think of it:
One bitter January afternoon I was rushing to leave for a weekend retreat seventy miles away. Of course I was late, and of course I locked all my retreat materials in the trunk of the car and threw the car keys in for good measure.
ARGH!! It was getting later and darker and colder. I drove our second car to the nearby Safeway where my husband worked. Quick!! Give me your keys!! I don’t have time to explain! And as I was rushing out I sort of heard him say, Don’t lock me out!!
And it wasn’t until hours later, as I was settling into my cozy bed at the retreat house, that I realized that I had done exactly that. I had left Ben’s keys in the house and used mine to lock the doors. And of course neither of us had a cell phone.
So out of bed I flew, into the dark night and dark roads of the Colorado mountains. I pictured Ben shivering in the garage or sleeping on the neighbor’s couch. And here’s the moment of forgiveness: I walked up to our front porch and opened the (unlocked) door. A cozy warm fire was burning in the fireplace. A sleepy voice called to me from the bedroom. I knew you’d be back.
Thank God for hide-a-keys. And all the opportunities a lifetime provides us to grow in the kind of love and gratitude that only comes from being let off the hook.
Sharing God’s Word at Home:
What stories can you remember about being forgiven much?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
What a wonderful story of forgiveness and the love that reached out for it.
I was raised nominally Methodist and converted to Catholicism as an adult. When I was about eleven years old and in the sixth grade at Columbine Elementary School in Boulder, I made an unkind comment about one of the sixth grade teachers — not my teacher. I began to feel so guilty about the comment. (I truly don’t remember what it was now, but I do know that it was unkind). Nobody told me to do it, but I clearly remember going into the teacher’s room before school one morning and apologizing. She was shocked, I think, but she forgave me. When I walked out of her classroom, I felt so relieved of the burden, and I promised myself that I would never say anything about anyone behind their back that I hadn’t already said to them, or that I wouldn’t be willing to say to their face.
I now believe that the Holy Spirit prompted that little Protestant girl to do the right thing. The teacher must have been similarly prompted. This is my first recollection of a reconciliation process. I think it says something about how powerful is forgiveness when I can remember the feeling 50 years later but have long forgotten the unkind comment!
I immediately thought about a true story in our life. My husband was a senior in medical school. We had three children and graduation was approaching. We went out on a limb and bought a second car, brand new, for him. One night I was driving to a women’s group meeting and I was alone in the new car. I hit a curb very hard and flattened the TWO tires on the driver’s side. I came to a stop in the street and a truck came over the crest of the hill and hit the rear of the car. I was uninjured but devastated. His new car was now an old car. My husband arrived to rescue me with three little ones in tow and a bouquet of roses in his hands. He said, “I’m so glad you weren’t hurt.” To this day he has never made an issue over that incident. To me that was true forgiveness.
(What a wonderful site)
Talk about needing forgiveness! I think the worst thing I have ever done was when I vowed, at 15, not to show any emotion. Needless to say, I effectively buried myself when I buried my truth. I hadn’t been able to love God, or my neighbor, as I hadn’t been able to love myself in that emotionally dead state. It has taken a lifetime to allow God to resurrect her. The truth has indeed set me free. So often we are blind to God’s faithfullness to forgive us our foibles, and to the miracles God wants to work in us. Praise be to God!
The thing our priest reminded us of this weekend is the Grace that is given to the one who forgives as much as the one who was forgiven.
I love your story Kathy!
I can think of so many times when I have lamented over not receiving forgiveness from another and later realizing I was the one witholding grace. More grace freely given!