If we truly want to thank God for forgiving us...
Reflections on the readings for the Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 13, 2020): SIR 27:30–28:7; PS 103:1-2,3-4,9-10,11-12; ROM 14:7-9; MT 18:21-35
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
In the Gospel for this Sunday we hear Jesus describe the fullness of forgiveness that God is prepared to give to all of us who ask for it. And we also hear Him let His disciples know that they – and we – are expected to offer our gratitude to God for this gift by sharing it with others. So often when we sin we hurt those around us. With our words and our actions, as well as our inaction, we wound others, sometimes over and over again. By sinning against God’s law of love, we cause others to suffer. Our Lord wants us to appreciate His compassion for us by extending it to our brothers and sisters when they cause us pain. God loves us and He wants us to love one another. He wants us to be generous to those who hurt us – and to recognize our own selfish faults. If we long for mercy, how can we withhold it from others?
In today’s Psalm, we hear that “Not according to our sins does (the Lord) deal with us, nor does He requite us according to our crimes. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is His kindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He put our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10-12). We can never outdo God in goodness, in love, or in charity. He only wants us to approach Him in humble trust and do what He asks of us. We are told to “set enmity aside. … Think of the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults” (Sirach 28:6-7). Or as Jesus would say in different ways throughout His time on earth, Do unto others whatever you would have them do to you.
Suggested missionary action: Let us pause to consider those we need to forgive from our hearts and those from whom we should ask forgiveness. We can also make a wholehearted effort to examine our conscience on a regular basis and to confess our sins when that is possible.