OMELIE / Omelie EN

17 set 2023
17/09/2023 - 24th Sunday in O. T. - Year A

17/09/2023 - 24th Sunday in O. T. - Year A

Reading 1 SIR 27,30-28,7 Psalm 102 Reading 2 ROM 14,7-9 Gospel MT 18,21-35

The Lord is teaching us to live together. With last Sunday's readings He has taught us to amend each other with love; today He is giving us another important teaching.

Even in the midst of the community there are sinners, people who are wronging us or offending us. How should we behave towards them? Should we follow the law of «an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth»? Take revenge up to seven times like Cain?

Saint Paul is telling us we do not live for ourselves, but for the Lord! Then also the reasons behind our behaviours and our «justified» reactions need to be found accordingly: for the Lord, how do our behaviours need to be, our reactions? Our brethren, and also people who are not part of the Christian community, need to be able to see in our life the reflection of the light of God’s face.

How does God behave? How does He react to the men’s sin? What are His reactions towards the people offending Him? We cannot say we do not know: just praying the Psalm we get to know that “He pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills; … Not according to our sins does he deal with us, nor does he requite us according to our crimes. … As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us”. If our God behaves like this, how could we dare behave differently? If God forgives and He is always open to forgive, how could we dare seek revenge or fuel feelings of anger? We want to be children of our God’s, so similar to Him. The similarity with God cannot be just external, but it will be the similarity of actions and reactions of the soul and the spirit.

The first reading from the book of Sirach is giving us precious and convincing teachings. “Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?”. “Remember your last days, set enmity aside”. “Remember the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults”.

These teachings are at the bottom of the beautiful and useful parable Jesus tells Peter to help him understand the answer He has given him: up to “seventy-seven times”. Peter had asked how often, according to Jesus, he should forgive people offending Him. He thought he would be very generous by offering seven times. And it was really a generous thing: we ourselves, in fact, often say, “the second time I might forgive you, but the third…”. Jesus instead does not want us to keep count, does not want the lump sum of our acts of love, as a mother, who never keeps count of them. They who keep count of the acts of love do not love. They who keep count of how many times they forgive, do not forgive. God is not acting that way.

Jesus tells in the parable that the servant says to the master: “Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full”, and the master not only showed patience, but he took pity on him and cancelled the full debt. This is the example God gives us, the behaviour we should keep joyfully and truly gratefully.

They who do not behave as the Father behaves with us, will not be able to enjoy the forgiveness they have already received too. Their soul cannot receive the eternal life, so God’s life: by rejecting the forgiveness, they have already rejected it as well.

We feel forgiving is quite demanding, but when we do so we realise that it is a source of great joy, brotherhood, peace, life. It is a little bit of God’s life which enters the world through us!

We say thank you, Lord Jesus, because you make us able to give forgiveness to the brethren as a sign of the Father’s love and His welcome. So we make known and allow to be loved His goodness, so we give glory to Him and You, so we «import» in the world the life which is a source of Life!