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WHAT ARE OUR REAL VALUES?

Father Francis's picture
Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Titus 1:1-9 & Lk. 17:1-6

Titus had been a co-worker and companion on one of Saint Paul's missionary journeys. Paul left him on the island of Crete so that he could appoint worthy leaders and organize the church there so that he could be free to continue his important work of evangelising further afield.

In today’s passage the virtuous qualities of bishops are mentioned. These are the expected requirements of anyone in a leadership position.

Jesus gives a warning in the Gospel when He speaks of scandals – a word which literally means a stumbling block or obstacle, and refers here to any teaching or action which could come between us and God. The warning is not without meaning in our modern world. We live in a society in which values opposed to those of the Gospel are constantly promoted.

This is especially true of advertising which would have us believe that happiness comes from what money can buy, that personal attractiveness is the result of cosmetics and that life is only concerned with self-gratification. The moral and good purpose of advertising is to allow people a choice, not to create a desire for superfluous things and to make necessities of luxuries. It is a wise person who chooses to live simply and humbly while making sure in all things that God and His values come first in their lives!

The rabbis maintained that if you forgive a person three times you would be considered perfect. Jesus tells His disciples that they must forgive a person 70 times seven … in other words always. This may seem impossible to us but Jesus has shown us how to forgive. When He was nailed to His Cross He prayed for His enemies, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Is there any better example of forgiveness than that?

Like the Apostles we, too, know just how hard it is to overcome any hurt or injustice done to us. To forgive another sometimes can be the hardest thing for us to do, but we must forgive if we are to be followers of Christ. Like the Apostles we need to ask for increased faith! The call to forgiveness may seem just as impossible as trying to uproot a mulberry tree and plant it in the sea. But Jesus teaches us that with even the smallest faith we can accomplish great things.

Is there any old wound, some affront or injury, for which we have not been able to forgive someone? Then we must say to Jesus, 'This is impossible for me! But for You all things are possible. I surrender this issue to You and ask for the grace and power to forgive.' It may be in the beginning that we can only ask God to make us want to be willing to forgive. Jesus will take us wherever we are and help us to take the next step on the journey to full forgiveness.

Father, we thank You for Your great mercy in sending us Your Son, Who made His great sacrifice on the Cross. Now we ask You to help us forgive others as fully as You have forgiven us.

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