Father Ricardo's Column

The first reading from the Book of Sirach, shows very clearly
the way our Lord’s teaching develops the tradition in which He
was raised. In the Hebrew Scriptures, there are countless
references to forgiveness and to love. Jesus did not introduce
a brand-new religion or religious message. He tells us
consistently that He has come to fulfill the law and the
prophets.

The Book of Sirach has all kinds of practical advice about how
to live well. Practical Sirach warns us to think about death and
decay and the possibility of a reckoning. He calculates that it is
a good idea “to cease from sin.” Just common sense.

If there is life after death, and if the way we live determines the
quality of that eternal life, choose to live God’s way. Paul’s
Letter to the Romans tells us to live for God!

Jesus lived in a religious tradition of Love and Forgiveness.
Jewish Rabbinic Law suggested that a person was to forgive
three times before taking retribution. Peter thought he was
being extravagantly generous when he doubled the
requirement and added one.

In the gospel parable, we see a servant who asked for the
forgiveness of the Master, and it was given boundlessly. The
same man refused to forgive for an unimaginably smaller
offense.

The servant’s punishment by the Master was brutal and
extreme. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who
trespass against us.”

There can be no limits on forgiveness.

FATHER RICARDO