September 17, 2017 — Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
SIR 27:30-28:7; PS 103: 1-4, 9-12; ROM 14: 7-9; MT 18: 21-35
The theme throughout today’s readings from Holy Scripture has to do with forgiveness. We must always appreciate that forgiveness is a two way street. We need to seek forgiveness as all of us are likely to do. However, forgiveness is also something we need to grant to others.
Some scholars consider Matthew’s Chapter 18 from where our Gospel Reading comes today as perhaps among His most personal teachings to His disciples and others as spiritual leaders. There is no question that the Lord is in the process of preparing His followers for the time when they (we) must continue His Kingdom without His physical presence. He is trying to build up the sense of fellowship and cohesion among His flock.
Thus, He focuses on how to build up cooperation and unity in those who work to build His Kingdom. He makes it clear that for us to accomplish that requires forgiveness and reconciliation. The lesson for us is quite basic: we need to know and appreciate and understand the grace of Jesus and respond by learning how to forgive our sisters and brothers (all sisters and brothers in our Christian and Catholic fellowship).
Christ always forgives us if we come to Him with a humble and repentant heart, and He expects the same from us. We need to forgive others just as we are forgiven. As Jesus warns us in today’s Gospel: “So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother (and sister) from your heart.”