Fr. Anit's Homily

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Septembe 17, 2023

Today is the twenty fourth Sunday of ordinary time. Last week, the church reminded us of the importance of reconciliation through fraternal dialogue and mutual love. Today she invites us to reflect on forgiveness. It is a very important element of reconciliation, and our Christian belief. It is the central message of today’s first and gospel readings.

There is a popular saying that to error is human, while to forgive is divine. That is to say, that the one who sins acts humanly. This is because it is part of our attributes as humans to error or to sin. On the other hand, the one who forgives acts divinely. This is because, to forgive is to participate in a very important attribute and nature of God. That is, His divinity. It is what our God is known for. “He is compassionate, merciful, love and He forgives” (Ps 102).

The first reading of today focuses on forgiveness. First, it reminds us that for our prayer to be answered, we must forgive others. Second, it presupposes that we are all sinners, in need of God’s forgiveness. So, for us to be forgiven, first, we must forgive others. Therefore, Sirac urges us: “Forgive your neighbor the hurt he does to you, and when you pray, your sins will be forgiven.” This is a call to liberate others, in other to liberate and heal ourselves too.

In the second reading, Paul reminds us of something very important. “The life and death of each of us has its influence on the other.” Also, our ability to forgive has a great influence on the other, as well as, on ourselves. Hence, it is important to note that forgiveness has a double effect. It is a single dose medicine that cures one or many people at the same time. It liberates the one who is forgiven, as well as heals the one who forgives.

In the gospel, Christ takes forgiveness to a different and practical level. This unfolds in the dialogue between Peter and Christ. Peter asked a theoretical question: “How many times must I forgive my brother?” Jesus answered him in the most practical way: “seventy-seven times.” Christ’s response simply reminds us that Christian forgiveness does not have limits. We must forgive all, always and forever as the prayer of Sant Francis of Assis says: “Wherever there is injury, there is forgiveness.”

Hence, to demonstrate this, Jesus tells a parable about the kingdom of heaven. Let us reflect on how many times we have acted like wicked servants. He was forgiven a great debt, but he could not forgive his neighbor a little debt. He was set free, but he jailed his neighbor. The message of this parable is that we must treat others mercifully. We must forgive, because God forgives us every day. We must not always hold our neighbors to contempt. Rather, we must consider their situations as God considers our situation always. Jesus tells us to forgive all, and forever. What does it mean to forgive all and forever?

Forgiveness or to forgive someone is not forgetting the things or the person. It is more than that. It is to understand the person and realise the life situations. During Jesus’ sojourn on earth, he exhorted others to forgive. He lived this message in his personal life by realizing the lives of those who denied, betrayed, rejected, and persecuted him. During the most agonizing moments of his life, he prayed for his own executioners saying: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in mercy.” The Lord forgives the many sins that we commit against Him. The experience of the forgiveness of the Lord should enable us to forgive others from the heart. The parable of the unforgiving servant clarifies this point: Just as the master forgave the servant’s debt, the servant was obliged to forgive his fellow servant! In the same we should understand person whomever we need to forgive and realize their life situations and be merciful to them as our God is merciful to each one of us. Then we also will be blessed by Gods unconditional love and forgiveness.


So, as we pray today at this Eucharistic celebration: “Forgive us our offences, as we forgive those who offend us,” let us ask God to help us to be true to these words, by living them practically. Amen.

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 10, 2023

My dear friends, we are on the 23rd Sunday in ordinary time and today in the gospel taken from Matthew Chapter 5, we see Jesus speaking about the importance of reconciliation. He says that if we realize that our neighbor has sinned against us, we need to take the initiative and go and talk to that person in private. this also should be seen together with another verse that Jesus said in Matthew chapter 5:23, that when we are on our way to offer a sacrifice and remember that someone has something against us, we need to leave the offering there and go and reconcile with that person and come back and offer the sacrifice. in both these cases one thing we can notice that the fault is apparently with the other person not with us. the first one Jesus says if you remember that your neighbor has sinned against you, secondly your neighbor has something against you. but at the same time, we see in both the cases Jesus is expecting us to take the initiative.

First, he says go and talk to him in private, secondly, he says to leave the offering there and go and reconcile with that person. Sometimes when we keep grudges, we find a justification for that. We say no why should I ask forgiveness, because the other person is at fault. or we say why should I ask forgiveness, if I am upset and angry, I have valid reason for that. however, when we look at what Jesus expects from us, we don’t see such conditions are valid.

In Sirach chapter 28:2 and 3 we see something very similar, here the Lord says forgive the harm done by your neighbor and then your sins will be forgiven. See forgive the harm done by your neighbor, so it’s already taken for granted that harm is done by a neighbor. and then we are asked to forgive that, and then what’s more interesting Sirach 28:3 the very next verses say, does anyone Harbor anger against his neighbor in the heart and expect healing from the Lord, actually the Lord says it’s impossible. Very often we wonder why we do not find progress in our life. We sometimes feel that we are praying a lot, we are doing a lot of Charity, we are trying our best to live a very virtuous life and yet why do we lack a lot of blessings in our life? We need to ask ourselves whether we have the habit of holding back forgiveness? We need to ask ourselves whether we keep grudges against someone in our heart? in the second reading we see saint Paul saying no to owe anything to anyone. and in forgiving the other person whether it is a neighbor or family member life partner brother sister whoever even when the other person is at fault is not an option, but is a command from the Lord when we do not do that, are we not owing something to them? Yes, we owe forgiveness to them, and then when we owe forgiveness to them, Saint Paul says we lack love, because love fulfills all laws.

So, imagine if we say that we are very particular in fulfilling the practices of piety we are very particular about our prayer life and a lot of charitable activities and so on. but then if we hold back forgiveness, if we are keeping grudges inside, then we do not have love. and so all activities that we do however good they are, they end up meaningless. in the first reading taken from The Book of Ezekiel chapter 33, the Lord says I have made you a Watchman for the house of Israel. here the Lord is referring to the importance of correcting one another. However, look at the responsibility of a Watchman of a city. the peaceful life or the peaceful existence of a group of people in a city will very much depend on the commitment and the dedication of the Watchmen. if the Watchman doesn’t do the responsibility well, then people in the city cannot live a peaceful life. so, we see that the Watchmen are accountable for the peaceful existence of the people that they are watching over. We too are actually accountable for the peaceful life of our relatives, our family members, our neighbors and so on.

If We Hold Back grudges, if we are unwilling to forgive others, whatever may be the reason as we said they may be on the wrong side, we may be right and, yet if we are unwilling to forgive, we become responsible for the lack of peace in their life. and then we must be accountable for that before God, because the Lord has set us as Watchmen for other people. We are accountable for them so we see when we are unwilling to reconcile, when we are unwilling to forgive, we lose a lot of blessings and Graces that should have come into our life. or to other people’s life through us. At the same time, we also prevent a lot of blessings and happiness that should come into other people’s lives. let’s look into our life and see if we have people in our life that we need to forgive, if yes let’s take the initiative and reconcile with them may God bless each one of us. Amen.