GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY – 17TH SEPTEMBER 2017
GOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings)
DATE: 17TH SEPTEMBER 2017
TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
FIRST READING: Sirach 27:30 – 28:2
PSALM: Psalm 102:1-4, 9-12
SECOND READING: Romans 14:7-9
GOSPEL: Matthew 18:21-35
Like a landmine, anger can be likened to a hidden bomb in the human heart. If not managed well and appropriately detonated, its effect can be disastrous. It has the force to raze down relationships and cause psycho-emotional and spiritual wounds. There are uncountable instances where lives and property have been lost just because somebody ‘stepped’ on the wrong spot in the world of another person.
Reflecting on the disastrous effect of poorly managed anger, Ben Sira writes: “Resentment and anger, these are foul things, and both are found with the sinner” (Sirach 27:30). He then goes ahead to establish that forgiveness is the most effective way to deal with anger: “Forgive your neighbour any wrongs done to you, and when you pray, your sins will be forgiven” (Sirach 28:2).
In response to the question of Peter on how often one ought to forgive an offender, Jesus said: “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy times seven” (Mt. 18:22). In other words, there is no limit in pardoning an erring brother or sister. He then illustrated the consequences of unforgiveness with the parable of the unforgiving servant and concluded by saying that we are sure to languish in prison unless we forgive from our hearts those who have offended us (Mt. 18:35).
Anger is a human emotion and we all have it in our hearts. However, like a spark of fire, this emotion can either be fanned into a blazing flame that destroys or quenched with the waters of forgiveness. Some of the things that fuel anger include a feeling of having the right to retaliate and a desire to teach an offender a lesson. We may feel that if we do not punish an offender, we are letting him/her off the hook. However, whenever we set out to hurt someone, we hurt ourselves too. Rightly so, there is an old Chinese proverb which says: “He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves: one for his enemy and one for himself.”
As Christians, we belong to Christ and we must always live our lives in him. Paul writes: “None of us lives for himself and none of us dies for himself. If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:7-8).
Has someone offended you? Is your memory continually playing back to you a moment of hurt in your life? Are you blazing with the feeling of anger? Ceasefire! Yes, you may have all the reasons to be angry but you also have a reason to forgive, namely, you are a disciple of him who said on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34).
PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, I come to you seeking for inner strength to forgive all those who have hurt me. In the light of your grace, I choose to let go of every resentment in my heart and I pray that you would restore unto me the joy of salvation. Amen
Andrews Obeng, svd
DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES
BIBLICAL PASTORAL MINISTRY
“May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace. And may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all people” (St. Arnold Janssen).