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Sunday, September 15, 2002

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24th Sunday Ordinary Time

Sirach 27:30—28:7
Romans 14:7-9
Psalm 103
Matthew 18:21-35

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forgiveness as a way of life

"My heavenly Father will treat you in exactly the same way unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart." —Matthew 18:35

We have a tendency to hug wrath, anger, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness (see Sir 27:30). This is the embrace of death, for "the vengeful will suffer the Lord's vengeance" (Sir 28:1). "He remembers their sins in detail" (Sir 28:1). If we embrace unforgiveness and its side-effects:

  • Our sins will not be forgiven (Mt 6:12; Sir 28:2, 4, 5).
  • Our prayer will not be heard (Mk 11:25; Sir 28:2).
  • We will block the Lord from giving us healing (Sir 28:3).
  • We will block the Lord's mercy from entering our lives (Sir 28:4; Mt 5:7).

The effects of and deprivations resulting from unforgiveness are so devastating that they produce in us a life of torture (see Mt 18:34).

For God's sake and our own sake we must accept the grace to live lives of forgiveness. We must keep forgiving 70 times 7 times (Mt 18:22) and forgive even our enemies (see Lk 23:34). We, like the father of the prodigal sons, must show our enemies love and mercy in practical ways (see Lk 15:20ff). Because we have to forgive so many people so many times and have to express these forgivenesses practically, forgiveness should become a way of life. Forgiveness makes our lives miraculous and full of grace.

By forgiveness, choose a life of miracles, mercy, and grace rather than a life of deprivation and torture.

Prayer:  Father, give me a lifestyle of forgiveness.

Promise:  "While we live we are responsible to the Lord, and when we die we die as His servants." —Rm 14:8

Praise:  Praise Jesus, risen Mercy!

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our leaflets, Unforgiveness is the Cause and 14 Questions on Forgiveness or on audio AV 41-1.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 7, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 12, 2002