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Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A

My dear friends in Christ,

SOMETIMES A PARENT CAN SURPRISE YOU

From today’s Gospel: That is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you forgive your brother from your heart!

Soon after passing her driving test, after much pleading, her Dad agreed to insure her on the new family car. Then, again after much persuasion, he allowed her to take her friends for a trip to Southend.

She was very careful. She kept to the speed limit, and was careful to park in a safe spot. But, on the way home, crunch! She never saw the other car. In an instant, the front bumper, headlight and part of the door became a crumbled mass of metal. She wanted to die. Dad would kill her. ‘I’ll be grounded for life.’

As she turned into the driveway, her parents were waiting. When they saw her drive up, they ran outside. She knew that they didn’t look very happy. Dad ran ahead of Mum - and right past the damage. He took his daughter’s hand and helped her out of the car. ‘Dad, I’m so sorry...’ she stammered. But he wouldn’t let her finish. ‘Are you alright? Were you hurt? Was anybody hurt?’ he wanted to know, hugging her tighter and tighter.

She began to cry - a little surprised that her Dad was so understanding, and a little ashamed that she had expected so little from him. We’ve all had similar experiences. Just when we expected to pay the price for hurting and letting someone down, they responded with understanding, compassion and immediate forgiveness. So it is with God, who always welcomes us back to him without condition or limit.

The great mystery of faith is that God continues to love us, continues to call us back to him, continues to help us repair the damage we cause. All God asks of us is that we forgive one another as he forgives us, that we lift up those who stumble as God lifts us up when we stumble. What do we find to be the biggest obstacle to forgiving someone who hurts us? Prayer: Loving Father, help us to let go of our angers or resentments, our embarrassments and disappointments, in order to begin repairing our brokenness with others and with you.

Wishing you well for the week.

Fr Brett

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