September 11, 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The texts in today’s Mass point us forcefully towards the need to develop within ourselves the virtue of forgiveness. The Gospel is wonderful. It is all about an evil servant who, although he is forgiven a great debt by his master, turns on a fellow servant who has failed to repay but a pittance that was owed. As good as that is, I prefer to touch on the first reading from the book of Sirach, which speaks beautifully and poetically to the need to be forgiving persons. Sirach tells us:
“Wrath and anger are hateful things and yet the sinner hugs them tight.”
Isn’t that marvelous? Don’t we all know people, and maybe even occasionally ourselves, who hug tightly to our anger and hate instead of letting it go, and experiencing the joy and freedom that comes with forgiveness. The text goes on,
“The vengeful will suffer the Lord’s vengeance for He remembers their sins in detail. Forgive your neighbors injustice and then when you pray your sins will be forgiven.”
In my opinion, one of the keys to day-to-day happiness is not carrying about anger and bitterness inside our minds and hearts. Today, the voice of Sirach leaps across the centuries and tells us that we need to try to do the same… although today in particular, forgiveness can be very challenging.