FROM THE DESK OF FR. MARIO J. TIZZIANI
Today’s Gospel is one which should cause us to do some soul searching in relation to our dealings with others. “‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times….’” If we live our lives outside the Faith, if we choose to hold on to grudges and are bitter, mean spirited individuals, then we are choosing not to be obedient to the Lord’s call to “love one another as I have loved you.” Our First Reading, from the Book of Sirach, provides us with a significant amount of food for thought concerning this command. “Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight. The vengeful will suffer the Lord’s vengeance, for he remembers their sins in detail.” Realizing that we are each called to live a life where we are reaching out and serving one another, it is vital for us to understand that we are called to be a people of mercy and forgiveness…not “hugging hateful things!” “Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.” Mercy equates to forgiveness – consider the Lord’s mercy towards us, in that when we seek His forgiveness, His mercy, we acknowledge our sinfulness, our failure to live for Him. Then in the Sacrament of Reconciliation we receive forgiveness. When we pray the perfect prayer, we state, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Even as we pray to the Lord, we state a caveat for our own forgiveness. Sirach states, “If one who is but flesh cherishes wrath, who will forgive his sins?” My dear brothers and sisters, today’s readings provide us with an important challenge to meditate over and then to act. For those whom we have offended or have offended us, we should not hold a grudge or have hatred toward. We are called to be bearers of Christ’s peace and love. Until we are able to do so, we will be unable to fully enjoy the joy of the Lord! “Remember the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults.”
May you have a truly blessed week in the Lord!
In His love,
Fr Mario Joseph Tizziani