24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2017

24A.   Sirach 27:30-28:7.  This passage readily brings back to memory the second of the Old Testament great commandments: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” when we read, “Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor; remember the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults.”  The emphasis here is to obey what God commands of us and not obey our natural human inclination to pay back in kind what we have received from our neighbor: “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.

Matthew 18:21-35.  In this Gospel Jesus is commanding that we forgive as we have been forgiven by the Father or, as we have been taught in the Our Father prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  In other words, as Jesus says in Mt. 7:2, “For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure, will be measured out to you.”  To forgive our brother or sister from our heart, especially when we have been deeply wronged is not possible to do out of our natural resources but requires first that we live deeply in the love of the Lord.  Only the divine can give that depth of love.

Romans 14:7-9.  If we are people who live life daily out of the love that God gives us daily, then “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.  For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”  When we belong to the Lord and to nothing and no one else, then the Lord, the infinite source of love, belongs to us.  Then we have the strength to love as the Lord loves.