Monday 23 February 2015

Monday of Week 8 Year 1

In some societies and cultures, a person who has committed a crime may sometimes be ostracised and shunned indefinitely. This is especially if the person had committed a crime so terrible that the consequences of such a crime are being felt by many, long after the person has been convicted and perhaps imprisoned. In some cases, such a person may be sentenced to death and may either be immediately excuted, or is placed on death row, making it a daily ordeal for the person, or for the victims themselves if they survived, or even for the families of the victims, since the parties involved would not know when the person's time is up and execution would be carried out. However, if you notice here, such a conviction is often following "an eye for an eye" principle, and even if the person may somehow be freed someday, the stigma of being known as a ex-convict may remain. In some cases, the ex-convict may have been imprisoned for such a long time that integration back to society is extremely difficult or even impossible, and we may have heard of cases where such a person would go back to a life of crime, or may commit suicide if the person is unable to cope with being freed.

But how does God deal with us when we commit a crime, when we sin? In the first reading, we come across a God who is quite different from what some of us humans may behave. The reading tells us "To those who repent, God permits return, and he encourages those who were losing hope. Return to the Lord and leave sin behind, plead before his face and lessen your offence. Come back to the Most High and turn away from iniquity, and hold in abhorrence all that is foul. How great is the mercy of the Lord, his pardon on all those who turn towards him!" As we can see, God is a merciful and loving God. He gives us plenty of chances and opportunities to change, no matter how bad or terrible we may have been. If God is willing to do this for us, then perhaps we need to ask ourselves sincerely: we pray the Lord's Prayer quite often, and when we do, we say: "forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who tresspass against us." Such words seem easy to say, but do we mean what we say? Are we willing to forgive those who have hurt us, or committed terrible crimes? Let us seek the Lord's help, and find it in our minds and hearts to forgive, just as God is willing to forgive us.

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