1 Sm 26:2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-23; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49; Luke 6:27-38.

This week my thoughts have centered upon the following phrase:

Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.

It has been a while since IÕve used props in a homily and this Sunday I will celebrate the Mass which most families with young children attend, so a prop homily it is.

The phrase -- Forgive and you will be forgiven -- echoes the words from the Our Father -- Forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us. The AS is not synonymous with WHILE, but rather it is synonymous with -- IN THE SAME MANNER -- or -- TO THE SAME EXTENT.

The MEASURE that is mentioned in the above text is key to my prop-homily this week. Although the measure (or unit) may be more closely tied to giving and gifts, I do not think that I would be doing violence to the text by associating the measure with forgiveness.

That is, the measure with which we forgive will be the same measure with which God will extend forgiveness to us. If taken seriously -- which it should be -- this concept could be quite sobering.

I am off to Wal Mart soon to find two large, clear containers which stand rather tall like in the shape of a barrel -- but only on a smaller scale. Sometimes one will buy a large quantity of pretzels in a container such as this.

These would stand on pedestals so that the entire congregation could see them.

About twenty glasses -- all the same size -- with different color liquids in each one of them (using water and food coloring) would be arranged somewhere in the sanctuary.

The beginning of the prop-section of the homily would speak of the sins and hurts committed AGAINST me in my life for which I am willing to extend forgiveness. As I forgive each of fence I pour each glass into one of the containers. Perhaps there would be 10 examples, only 8 of which I am willing to forgive. One might mention some kind of hurt as each glass is emptied.

The 10 other glasses represent the sins and hurts that I would ask God to forgive me for at the end of my life. However, I can only pour as many glasses into the other container up to the level of the first container. The point should be obvious at the end -- I will be stuck holding a couple glasses filled with liquid that I can not pour out. I am stuck with these. Had I not held back from forgiving I would be able to rid myself of these last two cups. Simple point? Yes, but I think it illustrates things well. If you want to know how it went, drop me some e-mail. Peace.

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