So Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And after he had looked all around, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
The next day, when they were leaving Bethany, he felt hungry. In the distance, he noticed a fig tree covered with leaves; so he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. Then Jesus said to the fig tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit!” And his disciples heard these words.
When they reached Jerusalem, Jesus went to the temple, and began to drive away all the people he saw buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the stools of those who sold pigeons. And he would not let anyone carry anything through the temple area.
Jesus then taught the people, “Does not God say in the Scriptures: My house will be called a House of Prayer for all the nations? But you have turned it into a den of thieves.”
The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard of this; and they tried to find a way to destroy him. They were afraid of him, because all the people were astonished by his teaching.
When evening came, Jesus left the city.
Early next walked along the road, the disciples saw the fig tree withered to its roots. Peter then said to him, “Master, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered.”
And Jesus replied, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and have no doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will happen, it will be done for you. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it shall be done for you. And when you stand to pray, if you have anything against anyone, forgive, so that your heavenly Father may also forgive your sins.”
In electronics a circuit breaker is “a device that under abnormal circumstances, such as a short circuit, stops the flow of current in an electrical circuit” (Collins Dictionary).
In today’s gospel reading we hear Jesus make a strong recommendation which might appear strange at first sight. He says, “When you stand to pray, if you have anything against anyone, forgive so that your heavenly Father may also forgive your sins.”
Two ideas are implied in this recommendation. First, it is suggested that, if I wish to pray, it must be with a clear conscience, that is, with no conscious sin still unrepented. And this is only logical. I can hardly address God in prayer and hope being heard by him if, at the same time, I reject his will on me by an unrepented sin. Second, not forgiving someone whom I believe has wronged me acts as a sort of circuit breaker. It stops the flow of my relationship with God. Why? Because God is pure forgiveness, and by refusing to forgive I am no longer attuned to him. We are no longer on the same wave-length. We can no longer communicate.
Forgiving others is vital for my relationship with God.
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