Forgive – or Forget It
Thoughts on the Second Reading – Joe Frankenfield
4th Sunday of Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13
Love is always patient, kind, truthful, faithful, hopeful and persistent. It’s never jealous, pompous, rude, self-centered, hot-headed, sulky or mean-spirited. Okay, everyone still claiming to be a lover put up your hand!
Years ago the wife of a couple, considering Paul’s letter to the Corinthians for their fiftieth anniversary celebration, commented that he obviously had never been married. “You got that right,” her husband replied, laughing. “We try, and on a good day we get some of that right. On our worst days . . . ; never mind.”
We might think it strange that Jesus made “forgive us just as we forgive others” one of the four blessings he taught his disciples to pray for. We might, unless we’ve ever attempted a lasting relationship. Friendship and love teach a simple lesson: no forgiveness; no relationship.
Assuming that we’ve put aside the idea that God will establish the world of Jesus’ vision whether we cooperate or not, we’ve had to accept the idea that he’s going to work through a lot of very imperfect folks.
Stupidity isn’t going to suddenly vanish. Weak egos aren’t going to grow magically strong. All the poor aren’t going to wake up hopeful and wise or the rich as concerned with the common welfare as with their own. Enemies aren’t going to suddenly decide that their opponents are just as right as they are. How, then, will things ever change?
We have no clue how things will change! But we know how things will begin to change: we will forgive one another. We will forgive one another not because we’ve all “gotten it right” but because we realize that our future depends on forgiving one another – as we are. Everything begins with that. Each of us begins with that.