Forgiveness

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on September 17, 1989

Readings: Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14; Paul to Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-32 or 15:1-10

In the first reading, we hear of God’s anger toward the people of Egypt for their sinfulness.  But in the Gospel reading, we learn, through the story of the Prodigal Son, of Jesus’ forgiveness and love for all of us, despite our sinfulness and shortcomings. We are forgiven and loved as we are, not as we might be, because God is love, mercy, and forgiveness.  As forgiven people, we need only believe that we are forgiven.  But perhaps before we can believe that we are forgiven, we need to forgive others.  

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on July 18, 1993

Readings: Wisdom 12:13, 16-19; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-43 or 13:24-30

In the first reading from the book of Wisdom, we are reminded of God’s unconditional forgiveness and compassion for us. How much do we hold onto the hurts that we’ve experienced?  But today, through the infusion of the Holy Spirit, we are asked to let go of these hurts, as God forgives us.  In the Gospel, Jesus challenges us to think of people as crops and weeds — the good and bad — and to pour our energy not into pulling weeds.  We should focus on ourselves and let God sort out the wheat from the weeds.  We are called, therefore, to be loving, compassionate, and forgiving as Jesus is to us. We are reminded of the courage of the six Jesuits killed in El Salvador in 1989, the debate of gays in the military, and the situation in Haiti as current events happening in 1993 that challenge us to not judge others lest we, one day, be judged by others to be a weed rather than the wheat.

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on July 4, 1993

Readings: Zechariah 9:9-10;  Romans 8:9, 11-13; Matthew 11:25-30

What does it mean to be a citizen of God’s Kingdom?  From the fist reading of Zechariah, we hear that God would put an end to war, jealousy, and human competition. In the second reading, Paul reminds the Romans and us today, that we must walk in the spirit. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us to learn from Him just as children learn.  That is, we are to be gentle and humble of heart.  We are challenged to reflect on how capital punishment fits with our being citizens of God’s Kingdom. If we really believe in the unconditional, all-embracing forgiveness of Jesus, we cannot harbor vindictive, hostile dispositions toward anyone. Let us all learn from Jesus and forgive others. Only in this way, will be truly free, in the way that Jesus talks about freedom, and find rest in our hearts.

Passion Sunday

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Readings: Isaiah 50: 4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27, 66

Originally delivered on April 8, 1990

How can we understand those that called for Jesus’s death?  How are we like them?  Like them, do we think that we are doing the right thing?  Or do we shrink at the thought of standing up for what we know is right? That is, what are our motivations for what we do? Indeed, part of the human condition perhaps, is that we are not always at our best.  But, we must pray to God to be accepting of our human limitations and that we may have more courage to stand up for a cause that makes the world better.

1st Sunday of Lent

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Originally delivered on February 28, 1993

Readings: Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19 or 5:12, 17-19; Matthew 4:1-11

We all struggle with a God who is love and mercy who also permits pain, suffering, and evil within His creation.  But through Jesus, we know that we are redeemed.  In spite of and in the midst of all the meanness, madness, and idiocy of human behavior, we are loved and forgiven for our shortcomings.

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Originally delivered on February 21, 1993

Readings: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18; Corinthians 3:16-23; Matthew 5:38-48

In this homily, Fr. Healy retells the tragic story of the fire that struck his family’s home and its aftermath for the family. We are reminded that we must always forgive unconditionally.  Although this is very difficult, we have examples of parents,  including those of Jesus, whose children were killed by others.  We are called to forgive just as Mary and Joseph forgave.  In today’s readings we are also given encouragement to forgive.  In Leviticus, we hear the Lord say to Moses, “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God. am holy.  You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart.” Then, in the second reading, Paul says to the Corinthians that we are temples of a holy God.  We are challenged to let go of our hurts so that we might truly forgive.

3rd Sunday of Easter

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Originally delivered on May 2, 1992

Readings: Acts of Apostles 5:27-32, 40-41; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19 or 21:1-14

In this homily, we hear of the tragedy of the riots in Los Angeles in 1992 and Fr. Healy’s struggle to understand the riots in light of the Easter allelujah that he felt during the season. From the first reading, we are reminded that we, like the apostles, sometimes may get into trouble doing the work that we are called to do. In the second reading, we hear again that Jesus will triumph. Finally, in the Gospel, through the story of Jesus meeting Peter fishing, we are reminded of Jesus’ forgiveness and our responsibility to serve others.  The racial riots in Los Angeles is another reason to know that we still have an unjust society and that we must confront those injustices if we say that we are true witnesses of Jesus. What are our present day events that show the injustices that remain?  How are we changing societal structures and ensuring that all people are included?  These are the questions that we must consistently ask ourselves as believers in Jesus’ Resurrection.

Easter

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Originally delivered on April 16, 1995

Readings: Acts 10:34, 37-43; Colossians 3:1-4; Corinthians 5:6-8; John 20:1-9

Fr. Healy begins this last homily at Our Lady Queen of Peace by retelling some favorite funny stories.   He reminds us that we cannot let the meanness and sadness of the “bad guys” to overcome us.  We must find hope in the Risen Christ.  We are not alone in our pain and sorry, but Jesus’s pain on the cross, is so that we can bear our pain.  We must not give up.  We are called to be the Easter people and sing alleluia for ourselves and for our sisters and brothers.  We cannot give in to those that would silence us.  We must always stand up for the truth. We are also called to forgive those that have wronged us. 

7th Sunday of Ordinary Time

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1 Samuel 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49; Luke 6:27-38

Originally delivered on February 23, 1992

We are called and anointed to make peace, forgive our enemies, and do good to those that would persecute us.  In the Gospel today, Jesus says, “To you who hear me…” Are we hearing Him?  Indeed, we must hear with our hearts.  In the second reading, Paul tells us that we are natural beings before being divine.  We are reminded that we are called to bring the Kingdom of God and His love and forgiveness to our sisters and brothers in the here and now.  We know that Jesus told us to love our enemies, have we heard it in our hearts?  Have we translated that love into deeds? Will we seize this sacred moment and make something of it?

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Readings: Kings: 19:4-8; Ephesians 4:30-5:2; John 6:41-51

Originally delivered on August 11, 1991

In today’s first reading, we hear about Elijah’s journey to the desert where God wakes him, feeds him, and commands him to keep going. In the Gospel, Jesus says that He is the Bread of Life. We are called to be the bread and nourishment for our sisters and brothers because of our commitment to the person and message of Jesus. Indeed, we are called by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians to “Get rid of all bitterness, all passion and anger, harsh words, slander, and malice of every kind. In place of these, be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ.”