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September 13, 2020 - 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“The LORD is kind and merciful slow to anger, and rich in compassion." Psalm 103: 8


Sirach 27:30–28:7

Romans 14: 7-9

Matthew 18:21-35


by Sister Judith Bloxham, OSB

In the first reading for this Sunday, Sirach speaks of anger and those who (unknowingly?) hug this emotion tight within themselves. If only we could bend our hearts and spirits to forgive those who spark our feelings of anger. If only we could spend time thinking and feeling how the Lord continually is forgiving us; then, perhaps, we could grow in being able to forgive others.

St. Paul reminds us, that “None of us lives for oneself and no one dies for oneself." And yet, we so often like to count the times someone annoys us and we find it hard, or impossible, to forgive that person. In the Gospel, even Peter asks the Lord, “…how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus replies to Peter that he must forgive “seventy-seven times.” Jesus is using an Eastern expression which means for us, “always and without limit!” The Lord’s parable of forgiving another in the same way we have been forgiven so often, reminds us that this can only happen when there is Love expressed in our life and that we can recognize this Love in others.

St. Benedict, and so many of his followers up to our present time, have spoken to this forgiving love that we must endeavor to live out in our families, communities, and in all of the unexpected situations and relationships in our lives. May we pray for one another in this spirit of love, especially during this time of uncertainty and illness in our world.

From the Rule of St. Benedict

“There is a good spirit that frees us from evil ways and brings us closer to God and eternal life. All who follow the monastic way of life should strive to cultivate (this spirit), spurred on by fervent love. Thus, the pure love for one another as of one family should be their ideal.” RB 72: 2-4 (Translation – Patrick Barry, OSB)

Gospel Acclamation

“I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34


Teresa Love
Teresa Love

Dear Sister Judith, Thank you for your reflections, most especially on forgiveness. I have found, through much trial and error in my life, that if I haven't forgiven someone, or some situation, first, then nothing that follows in my efforts are truly fruitful. Forgiveness is the first step to opening the door to peace. Of course, there is much work after that, to be done, but forgiveness is, first and foremost, our first 'holy action' towards healing.

I'm sure this reminder I will need within the next few minutes or hours as it is a constant task to be aware of unkind thoughts and possible actions incorrect in my walk with God. Walking in complete mindfulness of forgiveness is a…

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