Theme of the Mass: Forgiveness
Almighty God, whose only Son has opened for us a new and living way into your presence: give us pure hearts and steadfast wills to worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
Readings at Mass:
1st Reading. Genesis 50:15-21. Joseph’s forgiveness of his brothers for the wrong they did to him brings about reconciliation and a new start.
2nd Reading. Romans 14:1-12. Faulty human judgement can lead to resentment, hatred and grudge bearing; the final judgement belongs only to God who is all-compassionate and all-merciful.
Gospel. St Matthew 18:21-35. We must be willing to extend to others the generous forgiveness God has extended to us.
The parable of the Unforgiving Servant in today’s Gospel uses exaggeration to good effect. The king in the parable is a despot who owns many slaves and is willing to have them tortured and beaten if they do wrong. Despite his power and tyranny he forgives the slave who owes him a vast amount of money – 10,000 talents was infinitely more than the slave would earn even in his entire lifetime. The point Jesus is seeking to make is the sheer magnitude of God’s mercy and compassion: if the tyrant – king in the parable – was able to forgive his slave, how much more does God have mercy and compassion upon his children? If the tyrant-king was able to pour mercy on his slave, God’s love and mercy is a tidal wave beyond height.
But the main point of the parable is not this. It is that there is a fundamental relationship between God’s forgiveness and our readiness to forgive. The nature of this relationship is contained in the Lord’s Prayer: ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’ – not ‘if we forgive’ but ‘as we forgive’. As I forgive I find that I am forgiven; as I am forgiven, I find that I forgive. This is not a soft option or an expression of weakness but sometimes will demand a great deal and will be costly and hard but it is possible because of the love in which God enfolds us: this circle of being forgiving and being forgiven is generated by this love.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. (Martin Luther King)
Let’s continue to join together each day in a fellowship of prayer in union with Christ our Lord who unites us to Him and to one another wherever we are.
Every day in St Gabriel’s; 8am Morning Prayer; 6pm Evening Prayer. Join with us at these times or any other time that’s possible.
You might like to begin your Morning Prayer with:
The night is passed and the day lies open before us; as we rejoice in the gift of a new day, so may the light of Christ set our hearts on fire with love for you O God, now and for ever. Amen
And your Evening Prayer with:
As our evening prayer rises before you, O God, so may your Christ banish all darkness from our hearts and minds and set us free to sing your praise now and for ever. Amen.
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St Gabriel’s is now open for Mass each Sunday at 9.30am. Numbers are limited due to social distancing. If you want to attend please contact Keith Rogers tel 578097 or email email@example.com
Please remember it is important to maintain social distancing immediately outside the church building before and after Mass, particularly if facemasks/coverings are not being worn.