Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, 17th September 2023

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy

The readings for this Sunday remind us again of God’s boundless love and compassion. God’s unconditional love for us, and the sacrifice of Jesus’s death, mean there is no limit to the mercy we receive; nor can there be to the compassion and forgiveness we show to others.

The First Reading from Ecclesiasticus exhorts us to avoid resentment, anger and hatred, and live by God’s commandments. Showing true forgiveness and having compassion for others, whatever the hurt we have experienced ourselves, will set us free.

The Psalm is a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. We are reminded that we are not treated according to our sins: we receive the unimaginable depth and breadth of God’s love and forgiveness.

In the Second Reading, St Paul teaches the Romans how the life we live influences those around us. We belong to Christ, Lord of the dead and the living, and it is through the way we live and die that we lead others to him.

The Gospel parable of the merciful king and his unforgiving servant reiterates the key message that we must love and forgive others because of the love and compassion God has shown us, in spite of the depth of our sins.

This week, perhaps we can pray for those who are unable to forgive. We think of those who remain trapped in the cycles of bitterness and division, which in so many parts of the world, lead to violence and war.