16 Sep 2017

This Week Letter – September 17, 2017

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Dear Parishioners and Friends.


To fully understand today’s liturgical readings, we first need to understand ourselves, stand in front of the mirror, and look at ourselves carefully. What do we see? The face we have known for years, sometimes young, attractive, sometimes wrinkled? That is not enough – we must look deeper, into the soul.

What lies within us is not written on the face, but is rooted in our psyche, sits deep in the soul, and lies in the nooks of the mind. In a calm way, we are able to scold someone, let them to the depression. I do not exaggerate, because it is known that people can change, they can do both good and bad deeds. It depends on how we behave at a given moment, in a given situation, with a given person.

The Wisdom of Sirach tells us what people are capable of, but at the same time he instructs us on how to act. The first words are so obvious that they are beyond discussion: “Wrath and anger these also are abominations, yet a sinner holds on to them.” (Sir 27:30). Another is the instruction: “Remember your last days and set enmity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from sin! Remember the commandments and do not be angry with your neighbor; remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook faults. (Sir 28: 6-7). What do these important and dangerous words mean?

After these words we hear the Epistles of St. Paul to the Romans, explaining the significance of what we do, what we say, how we behave. We are Christians, we belong to the Church of Christ, because we are part of the Church, we create it and we are: “If we live, we live for the Lord; If we die, we die for the Lord. And in life and death we belong to the Lord. “(Rom 14: 8).

The Gospel gives us an example of a misunderstanding of charity and love of neighbor love. The first words we have a full interpretation of love and mercy: to Peter’s question,

“Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Mt 18: 21-22). Can we make that effort, in spite of the many difficulties, ignorance, and in spite of the pain caused by our fellow men, to forgive them? Is it worth it? For this question, the Gospel also answers: So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.” (Mt 18,35).

With all of today’s readings and Gospel in mind, consider how we can behave toward those who despise us, who are hurting us. Let us forgive them and pray for them, because it is possible that they do it out of fear, in self-defense or aggression, and in doing so, they mask their need for help.

God Bless!