Forgive and You Will be Forgiven Week 4 - Foundation for Forgiveness

(March 13, 2022)

Bottom line: Today we see the sacrifice of Abraham and Abraham Lincoln - in the fulness of strength. They shed light on Jesus' "exodus" - his sacrifice on the cross. That sacrifice provides the foundation for forgiveness.

By now you probably know that our Lenten theme is forgive and you will be forgiven. At first glance, today's readings don't appear to have much to do with forgiveness, That, however, is not the case. They, in fact, give us the foundation for forgiveness.

The first reading tells about Abram sacrificing "a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat, a three-year-old ram". According to commentaries, three years represents the age of full growth, full strength and greatest perfection. This sacrifice brings a new beginning. Abram would become Abraham, the father of many nations. Today, Jews, Christians and Muslims see Abraham as our father in faith.

So Abraham's sacrifice marks a new beginning. We can see something similar in the history of our country. In March of 1865, our bloody civil war was coming to an end. The question was: could we make a new beginning or would we be permanently divided? Our president had the same name as our father in faith: Abraham. Having won reelection and the war almost over, you could argue that Abraham Lincoln was at his greatest strength and perfection. In his second inaugural address he called our nation to a new beginning. Here are his words:

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan- to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

In a month Robert E. Lee would surrender his army, effectively ending the civil war. Five days later, on April 14, 1865, an assassin murdered Lincoln. It happened on Good Friday. Preachers throughout our country compared Lincoln's death to Jesus' sacrifice. Here's an excerpt from a sermon that addresses the meaning of Lincoln's "martyrdom":

"Yes, it was meet that the martyrdom should occur on Good Friday. It is no blasphemy against the Son of God and the Savior of men that we declare the fitness of the slaying of the Second Father of our Republic on the anniversary of the day on which he was slain. Jesus Christ died for the world; Abraham Lincoln died for his country."

Today's Gospel refers to Jesus' death for us: "And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem."

So what did Jesus' accomplish for us? We have learned that "offenses" and "trespasses" can be understood as "debts". I gave that example of the thief who not took not only my money, but robbed my peace of mind, my dignity and honor. For my part I also have debt to people I have offended and ultimately a debt to God. I cannot pay that debt, but Jesus can - through his "exodus", through that perfect sacrifice he accomplished in Jerusalem. So Jesus sacrifice - that was prefigured in the sacrifice of Abraham - lays the foundation for forgiveness.

Next week we are going to take a little difference tack. We will see how God sometimes allows offenses in order to achieve his greater purpose. You won't want to miss it.

Today we see the sacrifice of Abraham and Abraham Lincoln - in the fulness of strength. They shed light on Jesus' "exodus" - his sacrifice on the cross. That sacrifice provides the foundation for forgiveness. Amen.

**********

1.	“Tráeme una ternera, una cabra y un carnero, todos de tres año” 
2.	“La edad de pleno crecimiento, plena fuerza y mayor perfección”
3.	“Con maldad hacia nadie; con caridad para todos; con firmeza en el justo, como Dios nos da ver lo justo, seguimos adelante para completar la obra en que estamos envueltos…
4.	vendar las heridas de la nación, cuidar a los que han aguantado la battala, y por su viuda y su Huerfano – hacer todo para lograr un paz justa y duradera, entre nosotros y con todas las naciones...”
5.	“Si, fue propio que el martirio sucederia en Viernes Santo. No es blasfemia contra el Hijo de Dios y el Salvador de los hombres que declaramos la conveniencia del sacrificio del Padre Segundo de nuestra republica en el aniversario del dia en que El (Jesús) fue matado…
6.	Jesus murio por el mundo; Abraham Lincoln murio por su pais.”
7.	"Eran Moisés y Elías. Y hablaban de la muerte que le esperaba en Jerusalén.."

Other Homilies

2021 (Year B): Guest Homily: Deacon Leon Garcia
2020 (Year A): Next Step in Evolution
2019 (Year C): Is Good
2018 (Year B): Finding Hope When Life Hurts Week 2: Pivotal Moment
2017 (Year A): Best Lent Ever Week 2: Create Life-Giving Habits
2016 (Year C): First Things: Children
2015 (Year B): New Mind and Heart Week 2
2014 (Year A): Prayer and Spiritual Combat Week 2
2013 (Year C): Home of the Homesick
2012 (Year B): Two Steps to Glory
2011 (Year A): Sons of Abraham
2010 (Year C): Freedom from False Gods
2009 (Year B): A Glimpse of the Mystery
2008 (Year A): Visit of Fr. Peter West
2007 (Year C): Chosen
2006 (Year B): Trust
2005 (Year A): A Confrontation with Evil
2004 (Year C): They Spoke of His Exodus
2003 (Year B): Exposing a Modern Myth
2002 (Year A): The Boston Scandal: A Lenten Reflection
2001 (Year C): Voice from the Earthquake
2000 (Year B): A Million Dollars for Your TV
1999 (Year A): God or Gods of Culture?
1998 (Year C): Enemies of the Cross

Homily for Transfiguration 2006: The Son of Man
..........2000: What Lies Beneath

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Kurt Nagel (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

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MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru

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