SUNDAY DAY 13
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
CALLED TO CONTINUOUS FORGIVENESS
Scripture Reading: Matthew 18: 21-35
Last Sunday’s reflection reminded us of the responsibility we have in ensuring harmony within our community. No effort is to be spared in the pursuit of reconciliation and forgiveness. It is in this context that Peter asks how often he must forgive an offending brother (vv. 21-22). Peter’s question was in response to the statement of our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 18: 15-17 outlining the procedures to follow in restoring an offending Christian back to life in the Christian community. In answer, our Lord Jesus Christ tells the parable of the unmerciful servant (vv. 23-34), followed by a final warning (v. 35). From His response we realised that there cannot be harmony in the community or anywhere without continuous forgiveness. So, our Lord Jesus Christ is teaching His disciples that we are called to continuously forgive, called to unlimited forgiveness, we must not hold back forgiveness. This is the way for harmony in our families and in our communities.
Seven times: Jewish tradition limited forgiveness to three times, perhaps based on Amos 1:3, 6, 9 and Job 33:29-30 (note Luke 17:4). Peter thought his willingness to forgive seven times was much more generous than Jewish tradition. Peter’s question indicated that he still wanted to count how many times he should forgive just like many of us often do. Our Lord Jesus was in effect telling him not to count. So, our Lord Jesus Christ is telling Peter and all of us today that there should be no limit to our forgiving of others. For the Christian, forgiveness is not something that is done occasionally; it is to be part of our lives and a way of living. Forgiveness is a bold step to spiritual maturity and true discipleship. Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us that forgiveness is limitless, forgiveness has no boundaries. Child of God, we must forgive every one and every time.
As God freely forgives us, we are called, difficult as it maybe to continuously forgive all those who have hurt us. Hard as this may be for us, we are asked to try to be as forgiving as our Lord Jesus Christ. May God give us the grace to let go of anger by living the formula of seventy times seven, a life of unlimited and continuous forgiveness.
MASS: GREEN TWENTY- FOURTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR Sir 27:30-28:7; Ps 103:1-2.3-4.9-10.11-12(R.8); Rom 14:7-9; Accl Jn 13:34; Gospel Mt 18:21-35
1. Dear Merciful Lord, Thank You for your gift of forgiveness. Your only Son loved me enough to come to earth and experience the worst pain imaginable so I could be forgiven. Your mercy flows to me in spite of my faults and failures. Your Word says to “clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14) Help me demonstrate unconditional love today, even to those who hurt me.
Exercise: No matter what someone has done to you and no matter how often he or she does it, child of God, our Lord Jesus Christ says FORGIVE.
Meditation: Matthew 6:14-15