Jesus is not of the world. Nor are his true disciples. They get to reach what we who are humans find hard to reach.
There is no doubt that the way Jesus teaches is not the same as others’ way. For he teaches with authority, not as the scribe. Also, there is such a radical meaning in what he teaches that it turns things upside down. And that is why we say at times that we cannot reach what he proposes. For instance, as we hear him warn us of the danger of wealth, we wonder and ask: “Then who can be saved?” And about not resisting one who is evil, do we not trade it for the just war theory?
What Jesus teaches amazes us, yes, and even scares us; it sounds foreign to us. And we find hard to reach what he points to. That is so since we know just this world, where to take revenge seventy-seven times does not turn out strange.
But the Teacher, for his part, is not of the world. Hence, he does not conform to it nor does he adapt to it what he teaches. He does not even agree with the saying: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” Though it already limits revenge since one should not exact as retribution both eyes for an eye or the rest of the teeth for a tooth.
Still and all, the one who does not see as the world gets us. And so, he assures us who agree with the world that we can reach, by grace, what we find hard to reach. For God can do it all.
God enables us to reach what we human cannot reach.
Yes, God wants to help us to forgive not just once but also seventy times seven. But we have to admit, in the first place, that we are weak, that we cannot by our own power forgive.
In the second place, we must be aware that God is mad with love for us (Comentarios al evangelio 2). His love loses wholly; he gains nothing by loving us. He has no reason to love us: we are not great before him nor powerful nor true to his words.
Aware of this crazy love, we may just love as he does so that we learn to forgive without limits. So that we may do good to those who hate us and pray for those who persecute and slander us. So then, we shall be like our Father in heaven who forgives us our many and grievous sins. And we will also be free of the “serious fault” of not forgiving one who asks to be forgiven (SV.EN IX:218-220). For to refuse to forgive is to make fun of the one who asks for forgiveness. And this does not make for our being of one heart and one soul. Rather, it makes for our being sadder and meaner.
Lord Jesus, grant that we reach what we who conform to this world find hard to reach. Wrap us in grace and love so that we may be like our Father in heaven who is kind to the good and the bad. So that the Eucharist may indeed be communion for us. And make us yours in life and in death.
17 September 2023
24th Sunday in O.T. (A)
Sir 27, 30 – 28, 7; Rom 14, 7-9; Mt 18, 21-35