May the Lord give you peace in the Holy Spirit. It is on 17th September 2023.
We celebrate the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We reflect on Sirach 27:30-28:7; Romans 14:7-9; and Matthew 18:21-35.
The first reading and the Gospel directly address the power of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the gift and the miracle of love. Forgiveness is the outcome of a deep prayer and recollection. Forgiveness cannot be postponed for another better moment because forgiving the other itself is our best living moment.
However strong we may be spiritually, psychologically, and materially, without realizing the responsibility we owe to the broken humanity, we cannot forgive another human being. There is no counting of instances in the graceful moments of forgiveness.
A true moment of forgiveness does not keep an account of the number of times forgiven.
To forgive is human but to hold anger, resentment and grudges is inhuman.
One does not become divine by forgiving rather one becomes fully human and therefore he or she resembles the nature of God.
We all have the unfinished moments of unforgiving accounts of details with one another. Some have more and some others have much more. No one could boast that they do not harbour resentment and anger that leads to unforgiving relationships.
We are not here on earth to track and hold an account of the sins of others. We are here to know, loving, forgiving and forbear one another until we reach the Lord.
The first reading strongly reminds us that we must forgive just because the Most High has been overlooking many things in our lives. Only sinful and selfish people hold on to something against the other and are not willing to forgive for the reason they hold so dear.
“Forgive your neighbour the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray.” (Sir.28:2).
God’s forgiveness depends on the way we treat and re-treat one another.
The responsorial Psalm praises, “The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.” (Ps.103:8).
St. Paul reminds us of our purpose of being Christians to live for one another just because Christ lived and died for us all.
Our privilege and responsibility are to unite and bring the people closer to Christ.
The Gospel shows us how closed and cruel we could be when God forgave us so abundantly. Refusing to forgive is satanic and holding anger and resentment against another human being is demonic.
By not forgiving, we have passed judgment on ourselves. Despite our sinfulness, God has repeatedly forgiven us.
Let us not drag on taking our own time in forgiving the other. It will be too late when we do not have the spiritual stamina to forgive the other. We need to stop sowing the seeds of hatred, anger, and emotional fragmentations to become the friends of God.
“So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Mt.18:35).
Let us do something to that someone to forgive genuinely today as if it is the last day on earth for us. May God give us the courage to forgive one another today.