Sir 27:30-28:7/Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12/Rom 14:7-9/Mat 18:21-35
(Rev Fr Isaac Kofi Amponsah-Boateng, CSSp; Director, Holy Ghost Schools-Makueni, Sultan Hamud, Machakos Diocese)

Almost everybody knows the famous saying of Pope Alexander that, “to err is human, to forgive is divine.” Each of us, one way or another, has either been a victim or culprit of injustice at one moment of our lives. Human beings can never avoid offending others or being offended. What makes a difference is having the ability to forgive amicably. The three (3) Readings give us the parameters for that cause. In the ancient times, retaliation and vengeance were the order of the day; people paid dearly for the offences commited by suffering even sometimes greater violence than what they had caused. The Mosaic law “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth…” (Ex 21:24) was introduced as a way of ensuring justice. But in the 1st Reading, Bin Sirach tells us that retaliation adds salt to injury rather than healing the wound. He insists that anyone who harbours anger against one’s offence must forget obtaining compassion from the Lord. So he recommends that forgiving other’s offences is an indispensable condition for one to obtain pardon from God for one’s offences. Similarly, during Jesus’ time the scribes and the Rabbis also recommended that people should forgive rather than holding grudges and vengeance, but should not exceed three times. This, perhaps, might have confused Peter and his fellows. In today’s Gospel passage, Peter seeks clarification from his master: “Lord, how often…seven times?” Jesus’ reply and his subsequent parable teach us that forgiveness has not finitude, and does not follow principles of accounting. Its foundation is on the immensity God’s mercy. Therefore, Christians must forgive just as the heavenly Father forgives, for “none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself” as Paul tells is in the 2nd Reading. It is recommended that the best and effective way to retaliate is to forgive and love without condition or limit.

~•For the grace to be instruments of pardon and peace
~•That our world leaders may shun from all forms of apathy and promote peaceful coexistence
~•That we may not deny the sick and the suffering our Christian compassion and care.
Lord hear us

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