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Our Lady of Victory / St. Malachy
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Our Lady of Victory
490 Charles Street
Gatineau, Québec
J8L 2K5

Mass:     Sunday   9:00 AM
            Thursday 10:00 AM

St. Malachy
3889 Route 315
Mayo, Québec
J8L 3Z8

Mass: Saturday 7:00 PM





Fr. Albanus’ Reflections on the Sunday Liturgy

Forgiveness and mercy
Our scriptural readings today challenge us, as children of God, on the difficult issue of forgiveness. According to the scripture there has been a progressive evolution in understanding of the way to make up for the wrongs received and to discourage others from causing more. In ancient times, one would retaliate with the maximum possible violence, such that the wrong done was returned with added interest (Gen. 4:23-24). The book of Exodus shows some progress in the famous “eye for eye, tooth for tooth... wound for wound, stripe for stripe” (Ex.21:24). This basically calls for effort to see that punishment is according to justice; the principle that the punishment given should be proportional to the offence committed. Beyond these was the movement towards leniency as seen in the book of Leviticus 19:18: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself….” Today’s first reading moves in the direction of this latest position.

The author, in the first reading, gives the advice which underlines the futility of vengeance. He reasons that when we give vent to our retaliatory instincts, our rage and grudges, we do not get any justice done; we simply make things worse. Nursing anger or cherishing resentment is harmful for our health; it disables us and makes us defenseless when we look for our own sins to be forgiven. We ought to go beyond simple justice and must open our hearts to sentiments of mercy. Forgiveness of offences, according to Ben Sira, is an indispensable condition to pray and obtain pardon from God. When one offends us, do we demand rough and complete justice or do we show mercy and forgiveness? In the Gospel, Jesus dwells on this too. As Matthew continues to deal with relations between Christians, he focuses on the need for forgiveness between members of the community in today’s Gospel.

The rabbinical tradition of the time of Jesus insists on the need to establish peaceful relations between people and condemns vengeance, anger, grudges and advises reconciliation. But this view is qualified as the duty to forgive is limited to the people of Israel. Hence Peter’s question to the Master who appears to have different views. Peter’s “seven times” suggests forgiving always and every time. (Seven in the Bible represents totality). But Jesus’ response goes beyond Peter’s fears. Not just always but more than always, if that is possible. That is the implication of “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” He uses this parable of the two debtors to stress that pardon has to be infinite and to emphasize the immense distance that there is between the heart of God and the human heart. There is no sin which God will not forgive; no guilt will be greater than His love. God’s inexhaustible goodness is here contrasted with the meanness of human heart which is incapable of forgiving even the smallest offences. Therefore, the Christians, as children of God, must forgive offences with a heart similar to the heart of their Father who is in heaven. They ought to show a love that has no limits. Also, forgetfulness of our sins leads us to lack of compassion; remembering how our sins have gone unpunished by God should lead us to forgive others. We need to be constantly reminded that we live in the gracious forgiveness of God. Happy Sunday!


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490 Charles Street • Gatineau • Québec • J8L 2K5
Telephone: (819) 986-3763
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