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Cheated by a Taxi Driver

(1 Sam 26.2,7-9,12-13,22-23; 1 Cor 15.43-49; Lk 6.27-38)

There is a classic psychological test where a viewer is asked to watch two small groups firing a basketball around their group. The viewer is asked to count the number of passes in just one group over a space of a couple of minutes. This is very demanding with two balls flying in unpredictable patterns. Near the end a man in a gorilla suit walks across the playing area. Most of the viewers do not even notice him. When informed and asked to review the footage they all spot him immediately.

Many tests like this show us that we do not see what’s there; we see what we expect to be there. Our brains are so wired into our own experience, concerns and culture that they act like filters colouring our interpretation of the world. If we have been cheated by one taxi-driver we tend to be suspicious of them all.

So even in human terms it is rash to judge others. We do not know their past experiences, and very often we ignore what shaped us. Jesus, however, asks us to go even further, to forgive the ungrateful and wicked – even our enemies. Why should we do this? First of all, as Jesus indicates, this is exactly what God does, bestowing rain and sun on everyone in equal measure. Each one of us carries a God-virus (a good one!) within us. We can spread it, even to the most sceptical and hardened. May God’s mercy and compassion ooze out of us, and maybe we will help shape a more gracious and kindly world.

7th Sunday of year C

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