The theme of today’s readings is forgiveness. In the first reading from Sirach 27 and 28, the mandate to forgive is very clear. “Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself, can he seek pardon for his own sins?”
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 18, we hear a familiar story from Jesus about forgiveness. It all starts with Peter asking, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus then goes on to tell a parable about forgiveness and the cost of not forgiving.
For the Christian, forgiveness is not optional. It is something we must do. Well, I suppose we don’t HAVE to forgive. Only if we don’t want God to forgive us. But if we want God to forgive us, the we MUST forgive others. And not just with lip service, but from the heart.
Father, have mercy on us, as we have mercy on others. Give us heart filled with love and forgiveness. Amen.