Sunday 17 September 2023
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ecclesiasticus 27:30-28:7. The Lord is kind and merciful; slow to anger and rich in compassion – Psalm 102(103):1-4, 9-12. Romans 14:7-9. Matthew 18:21-35.
God calls us to build communities
St Paul writes that ‘the life and death of each of us has its influence on others’. It’s no wonder these words are often chosen for funerals because they are profoundly true. The statistics we read about loneliness are frightening. Many people are isolated. Some go days without talking to anyone other than a brief exchange with a shopkeeper. God calls us to build communities where people can appreciate and understand how deeply we shape each other.
One of the major ways we influence each other is through forgiveness. Jesus tells a wonderful story today to illustrate this. The king forgives an enormous debt owed to him by a servant. Then the servant goes out and tries to throttle someone who owes him a much smaller sum. We all get ourselves into this kind of mess, living by two standards. We know that God has set us free. How then can we help others to find true freedom?