A reflection for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Forgiveness
Today’s reading invites us to consider what it is to forgive others by considering how Christ desires us to. Peter, in Matthew’s gospel suggested to Jesus that we should forgive fellow church members seven times, but Jesus said that we need to forgive our companions seventy-seven times, indicating that forgiveness is something that must be continuous and ongoing. I wonder how many of us forgive as Jesus intended. I know that I am someone who struggles to let go of things when someone wrongs me, but I guess that this is our human nature. Today, Jesus invites us to look at forgiveness in a different way. Jesus calls us to forgive others in the same way that Jesus forgives us.
So why should we live our lives in accordance with Jesus’ teachings? Well, we are an Easter people. Christ died for our sins on the cross at Easter, and we remember this sacrifice that Jesus made year after year as our church calendar leads us again into the Easter story. But more than that. Each week we share in the Eucharistic meal around the Lord’s table. We are reminded of the love God has for us in Christ as we hear Jesus’ words inviting us to remember Him as we share in the bread of life, “Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you; do this to remember me.”
We also are reminded of the forgiveness that Christ offers when we hear the instruction to share in the cup of blessing, “Drink this, all of you, for this is my blood of the new covenant which his shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins; do this as often as you drink it to remember me.”
By sharing in this sacred meal and inviting Christ into our beings, we are inviting Christ to help us to live as God desires.
As your new vicar, if find it interesting that our lectionary readings speak strongly about forgiveness today. From my perspective, we have not been in a relationship where either party has done anything to upset the other. However, I am sure that there will be a time when we are likely to encounter differences. There will be a time that I annoy you and you upset me. So, what are we called to do? Forgive each other and as I see it, communication is the path that helps us to achieve this.
Leanne and I are delighted to be called to this parish. We have looked forward to the day that God’s plan is enhanced whereby the training I have undertaken and my life experiences are brought together in one place to lead a parish, to grow together, to challenge each other, and to love each other through kindness, forgiveness and compassion.
Let us pray that God will be with us all as we embrace the weeks, months, and years ahead.