24th Sunday of the Year: The crucial role of forgiveness.

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Study:  Recall a time when you received forgiveness.  What did it feel like?

Pray:  Is there someone you need to forgive?  Ask the Lord for the courage and strength to do it.

Serve:  Is there someone you need to ask for forgiveness?  Be the first to foster healing in the relationship.

Mass Readings – 24th Sunday of the Year

Let’s take a quick look at a sketch of the readings:

  • 1st Reading – Forgive your neighbor, so that the Lord will forgive you
  • Psalm – “The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.”
  • 2nd Reading – We live and die for the Lord
  • Gospel – We forgive others, just as our Father forgives us

On one hand the teaching is simple: if you want to be forgiven by God, start forgiving one another.  It’s sound logic and makes complete sense…until you have something hard to forgive.  Perhaps we have felt slighted or neglected, been hurt or experienced disappointment.  Maybe we just don’t understand, or maybe we are choosing to interpret a situation in its worst possible light.

Forgiveness is the practical dimension of Christian love.  After all, it’s easy to love people when we are comfortable, rested, calm and free of all distractions.  The real test of our love happens when we can forgive one another in the light of Jesus Christ.

The Lord offers us the teaching of forgiveness with clarity and conviction.  There  is no middle ground.  We forgive one another if we expect God to forgive us of our own sins.  We forgive, knowing that we all stand in need of God’s forgiveness, so that by unlocking the gates of our hearts through forgiveness we can stand before the Lord ready to receive the grace of his mercy.

Two thoughts then emerge today:

  1. Who do I need to forgive?
  2. To whom do I need to apologize and ask for forgiveness?

May the Lord inspire us to be people of forgiveness as we practice his teaching and follow his example.

Note: This post was first published on September 11, 2017.

About Fr. Andrew Ricci

A Catholic priest since 1997, Fr. Andrew Ricci is currently the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI. His website "Three Great Things" can be found at studyprayserve.com and his podcasts can be found under "Catholic Inspiration" in the iTunes store. View all posts by Fr. Andrew Ricci

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