EZAKIEL-WHEN YOU DID NOT WARN THEM FROM SINS THEIR BLOOD IS ON YOUR HANDS 24th Sunday in Ordinary Times Readings: Sirach 27:30-28:7; Romans 14:7-9; Matthew 18:21-35 Forgiveness is good for us all. Hatred and resentment are moral cancers that eat away at our enthusiasm to do well. An appeal to strict justice is not enough to solve the dilemma, since taking out another’s eye does not really cure the loss of one’s own eye, and revenge cannot really settle the account of a grievance. But forgiveness is a hard virtue to gain and to maintain. We can feel this problem in the question Peter asks of Jesus today: “How many times must I forgive?” And although his proposal of “seven times” is used as a round symbolic willingness to forgive “as much as it is humanly possible to forgive,” Jesus suggest we must go further still, since God forgives “seventy seven times” (or seventy times seven times.) Forgiveness is not a question of just how often or how many times, rather it reflects God’s unending willingness to pardon. There are no limits to his forgiveness. Sometimes it is so easy to forget God’s goodness, as our first reading says. Even the stark reality of our own death does not keep each of us alert to God’s gracious promise of salvation as the guiding principal of our actions. It is not easy to see the goodness of God in the hurt people inflict on each other by their selfish interactions. Paul tells us today that we do influence each other. We affect each other. But is it for the good (Rom 14:7-9.) Our parable today shows that we are incapable of forgiving without first appreciating the forgiveness we have received from God. And we may notice the scenes like: (1) We are insolvent, indebted, overdrawn in our account with God’s goodness. God has given us freely - life, freedom, integrity and hope. We are incapable of achieving anything by our own resources- we have none! “Without me you can do nothing.” (2) Sometimes people are puffed-up with their own importance: “Pay me what you owe me!” Someone may be intolerant, demanding, inexcusable and arrogant. One might be unkind and unforgiving. Sometimes we can injure our neighbor, and he can hurt us. We can elbow our way roughly through life. We can so easily hold a grudge, and refuse to forgive. (3) The ultimate reality - God’s goodness - is never simple-minded. God is not blind. The unforgiving cannot be forgiven. Forgiveness only comes from realizing that we have been forgiven. In pardoning we are pardoned. Our tenuous hold on others must quickly be consumed - not by following our hatred to the hilt, but by pardoning in gentle forgiveness. Only in this way can we realize the equation: Insolvency cannot make demands! Takeaway points/life messages I can say: “However much we have been wronged, however justified our hatred, if we cherish it, it will poison us. We must pray for the power to forgive, for it is in forgiving that we are healed”. Nelson Mandela continually reminded his fellow prisoners in South Africa that unless they let go of their hurts they would remain in the grip of their abusers. So letting bygones be bygones is healthy and therapeutic. By failing to forgive, we hurt ourselves more than anyone else. Surely this is what Jesus had in mind when he told how the merciless servant was cast into prison when he refused to forgive his fellow servant. I don’t think he was suggesting that God would cancel his mercy. He is simply saying that an unforgiving spirit creates a prison of its own. It builds up walls of bitterness and resentment and there is no escape until we come to forgive. Forgiving and letting go is not easy, especially when the wound is very deep. However we must learn to forgive others and ourselves. No one is perfect. For many people there is something in the background, some skeleton in the closet – a broken marriage, a pregnancy outside marriage, a broken relationship, a serious mistake etc. And for many of us, we do not believe that there is another chance - much less seven times seventy chances. God does not just give us one chance, but every time we close a door he opens another one for us. O most loving and merciful God, our loving Father and Creator, the Divine Mercy, have mercy on us sinners and forgive us our sins. Help us all to be able to forgive each other our mistakes and sins to each other too. Help us to be charitable and compassionate, and to be generous with love and mercy whenever we are able to. Have mercy on us and on the whole world, forgive us and bring us into your everlasting glory. Amen.
General Intercessions: WE PRAY - In today’s gospel Jesus reminds us that if we are to gain forgiveness from our Heavenly Father, we in turn must practice forgiveness in our daily lives. We pray for the grace to forgive those who may have offended us and to banish resentment, anger and hatred from our lives. - That the church serve as a beacon of reconciliation, leading others in the ways of harmony and peace. - We pray for those who we have offended by thought, word or deed and who have shown Christian charity in forgiving and forgetting our transgressions. - That all who are burdened by the weight of resentments find solace in today’s lessons of compassion and forgiveness. - We pray for those who are sick, both at home and in hospital, that our loving and caring Father look down on them with compassion and give them relief in their illness. - For all our parishioners needs and for the Community Church in Beaver.
Mass Intentions: We have been asked to pray for 9/12/2020 - Jerry and Ben Dignon on their Anniversary 9/13/2020 - Repose of the soul of Bob Mercer 9/13/2020 - Healing for Anna Orta 9/14/2020 - Dena Lock and Ken Hillyer on their Birthdays 9/16/2020 - Healing for Ron Berthelette and Sandra Camirand 9/17/2020 - Cindy Brecht on her Birthday 9/18/2020 - Healing for Dave Brown and Mary Alger