08 November 2010

SEVEN

Monday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time
Lk 17:1-6

I have four favorite numbers: three, seven, eight, and twelve. I like the number three because of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Eight is the number of my birth. Three and eight together stands for my birthday: March 8. The devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe included the number twelve in the list of my favorite numbers because it is her feastday. But the number seven makes the list complete. Seven stands for perfection and holiness.

According to the book of Genesis, on the seventh day, God finished the work He had been doing and so He rested (Cf. Gen 2:2). When God works, He works perfectly always. Thus, when He had finished creating on the seventh day, everything was perfect. God rested on the seventh day not because He was tired. God can never be tired. He rested on the seventh day because everything was already perfect; there was nothing else to be done.

But God did not only rest on the seventh day. Genesis 2:3 says, “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.” Thus, the seventh day is a holy day. It is a holy day because God had a holiday; He rested on the seventh day.

For the Jews, seven is a perfect and holy number. It is the Sabbath number. It is God’s special number. The Jews prohibit heavy work on the Sabbath Day not because they are lazy but because they want to imitate what, according to the book of Genesis, God did on the seventh day. Seven is also the number of renewal for the Jews. They celebrate every seventh year the Sabbatical Year when all debts are cancelled, the land is given rest, slaves are freed, collaterals are returned, and feasts are unending.

For me, seven is a reminder that I should be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect and holy as He is also holy. It is the number of Jesus for me. Because Jesus reveals the Father to me, I should strive to become more and more like Jesus. He is perfect and holy. Certainly, left to my own efforts alone, I cannot be perfect and holy. That is why I need Jesus to dwell in me. In every Eucharist I receive, Jesus comes to me and helps me to be perfect and holy. It is a lifelong task.

The number seven is mentioned in the Gospel today. Jesus gives it as the number of times we must forgive those who sin against us. Knowing that seven is the number of perfection and holiness, we now understand that forgiving those who trespass against us is always a perfect and holy act. Forgiving those who sin against us makes us mirror God who is perfect and holy. The more we forgive the more perfect and holy we become. This is the reason why after forgiving anyone, we cannot put into words the peace and joy we experience. That is the experience of being perfect and holy. We feel complete. We feel satisfied. We are at peace.

Because sin remains with us while are here on earth, we continue to transgress and be transgressed. We sin and are sinned against. Thus, we need to be forgiven and to forgive more than seven times.

When asked how many times we must forgive those who wrong us, Jesus multiplies seven by seven. Jesus, however, does not refer to a numerical figure. He multiplies perfection and holiness by perfection and holiness too. It simply means that we must always forgive.

Finally, Jesus does not invite us to forgive. He commands us to forgive. It is similar to the mandate He gives us to love one another as He loves us. But can forgiveness be commanded? Yes, forgiveness can be commanded just as love can be commanded too.

“Love can be commanded,” said Pope Benedict XVI, “because it has first been given.” Jesus can also command us to forgive because He has first forgiven us. And He forgives us no matter what our sins are, no matter what our favorite sins are.

2 Comments:

At 9:23 AM , Blogger talkneneng said...

Father Bob very advanced happy birthday po.. hehe.. Your reflection reminds me of my ever dearest youngest sister…

Isa po sa naging raket ng sister ko ay ang paggawa ng thesis w/ fee. This happened two years ago when my sister was not able to reply and answer her client’s text message & telephone call. She’s busy working on day and night to meet the deadline for the submission of her client’s master’s thesis.

Nung nakapag-usap sila, narinig ko ang ilang ulit na pagmumura at mga masasakit na salitang ibinato sa kapatid ko. During that time, ako ang inis na inis sa lalaking yun! But I noticed, during their conversation, my sister stayed calm at mahinahong nagpapaliwag. Sabi ko sa kanya, paano mo nagagawang hindi magalit, matapos mong gawin ang thesis nya?

Possible pala yun, na right that moment napapatawad mo na s’ya. Tulad din ito na “kapag binato ka ng bato, batuhin mo ng tinapay.” Ganun!?

Naunawaan ko lang nung sinabi n’ya na mas makikita niya ang kanyang sarili sa kanyang mga ginawa kung ang salamin na ihaharap mo sa kanya ay ang pagpapakumbaba (virtue of humility). I love my sister very much. She's the best!

Thank you Lord Jesus…

 
At 2:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord I pray to be addicted to Your unwavering love and forgiveness so that I will do the same to the rest of my brothers and sisters. Amen.

 

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