24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalter week IV
Entrance Antiphon: Sir 36: 18
Give peace, O Lord, to those who wait for you, that your prophets be found true. Hear the prayers of your servant, and of your people Israel.
Look upon us, O God, creator and ruler of all things, and, that we may feel the working of your mercy, grant that we may serve you with all our heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Ecclesiasticus 27:33-28:9
Resentment and anger, these are foul things, and both are found with the sinner. He who exacts vengeance will experience the vengeance of the Lord, who keeps strict account of sin. Forgive your neighbour the hurt he does you, and when you pray, your sins will be forgiven. If a man nurses anger against another, can he then demand compassion from the Lord? Showing no pity for a man like himself, can he then plead for his own sins? Mere creature of flesh, he cherishes resentment; who will forgive him his sins? Remember the last things, and stop hating, remember dissolution and death, and live by the commandments. Remember the commandments, and do not bear your neighbour ill-will; remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook the offence.
R/ The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord all my being, bless his holy name. My soul, give thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings.
It is he who forgives all your guilt, who heals every one of your ills, who redeems your life from the grave, who crowns you with love and compassion.
His wrath will come to an end; he will not be angry for ever. He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults.
For as the heavens are high above the earth so strong is his love for those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west so far does he remove our sins.
Second reading: Romans 14:7-9
The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord. This explains why Christ both died and came to life: it was so that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Gospel Acclamation: 1S3:9,Jn6:68
Alleluia, alleluia! Speak, Lord, your servant is listening: you have the message of eternal life. Alleluia!
Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35
Peter went up to Jesus and said, “Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?” Jesus answered, “Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times. “And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time,” he said, “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me”, he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said. “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.”
Prayer over the Offerings
Look with favour on our supplications, O Lord, and in your kindness accept these, your servants’ offerings, that what each has offered to the honour of your name may serve the salvation of all. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Ps 35: 8
How precious is your mercy, O God! The children of men seek shelter in the shadow of your wings.
Prayer after Communion
May the working of this heavenly gift, O Lord, we pray, take possession of our minds and bodies, so that its effects, and not our own desires, may always prevail in us.
Through Christ our Lord.
Forgiveness is something very creative and goes beyond the existing facts. It recognizes the deeper goodness in people, despite what they have done. Forgiveness means pardoning and letting go completely, creating and making the offender new again. It requires great grace to forgive. Forgiveness is never easy. It is a grace from God. Surely, to forgive one’s brother or sister up to seven times is pretty generous! After all, there has to be a limit, at least so Peter thought! Not so, according to Jesus: seventy-seven times. No limit, endless and on-going. Peter must have been shocked to know that the path of forgiveness knows no end. But later he is glad, because Jesus forgives him even after his treacherous denial of the Master. He saw that if God never stops forgiving him, he must try to forgive others. This is how much the Lord loves you. “I forgave you all that debt…” (Matthew 18:32). Thank you Lord for forgiving me seventy-seven times and more. Give me the grace to forgive someone today. Only those who forgive belong to God’s kingdom. Lord, to forgive from the heart is a grace I must pray for. I can’t do it on my own, and I know this. Often, I am a wicked servant! You are always so good to me, but I can be so hard-hearted with those who offend me. Have mercy on me and change my heart!