In the second reading, Saint Paul tells us about the debt we owe one another. It is the debt of God’s love. Christ, Jesus having lavished and sacrificed his love for us by the Paschal Mystery, he places an obligation on us to love one another. At the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus said; “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John.13: 34-35).
We owe Christ the debt of love and his love is greater than anything else. We can only pay him back by reaching out to others in love. The scripture tells us that the last Judgment will be based on how much we have loved our neighbor.
In today’s liturgy, we are reminded to show God’s love to others in the way we correct those who hurt us or those who do us wrong. In the first reading, the prophet Ezekiel is appointed to act as a watchman, to give the message of hope to God’s people. Before now, God had told Ezekiel to warn the people to change their ways of life; otherwise they will be exiled from their land. This, Ezekiel faithfully carried out, but they failed to listen and they were taken into exile. Again, God asked Ezekiel to give the people a message of hope. Those who turn away from their evil ways will definitely experience God’s mercy. God does not give up on his people and would not give up on us, because his love and mercy for us endures forever. So, I encourage you today; don’t give up in yourself, don’t give up in your dreams, don’t give up in your own situation of loving and forgiving. We may be unfaithful but God is always Faithful.
In the Gospel, Jesus tells us on how to correct those who may have wronged us, to do it with love and charity. We are not in the position to immediately passed judgments on them, but exercise great patience in trying to reconcile the wrong.
The Apostle tells us. “Love is patient and kind.” (1Cor.13: 4). How peaceful our world would be today if those words of Our Divine Lord and Savior were put into practice! But most often the contrary is the case, people rush into outright condemnation of wrongs, keeping grudges and malice; people correcting others in full glare of the public, undermining the personal touch put forward by Jesus. Many don’t want to reconcile and move on. At times, they are full of gossips, no forgiveness or reconciliation among siblings, with parents, families, relationships and marriages, and so on. When Peter asked Jesus how many times we should forgive our brothers or sisters who sinned against us, if seven times? Jesus simply said to him; not seven times, but Seventy-seven times. Which means the love and mercy of God endures forever. He entrusted to us the message of forgiveness and reconciliation and encouraged us to do the same. “Do this in memory of me.”
Let us put aside every form of hatred and unforgiving spirit and to put on the heart of love, peace, trust and hope, mercy, forgiveness and to let God. The responsorial today says; “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” As we listen and meditate on God’s Word today, let us not harden our hearts to his word of forgiveness, love and peace. Instead, let us be moved today to obey the commandments of God’s love and forgiveness. Let’s make the world a better place.
God is good…all the time.
God bless you.
Fr. Daniel E. Ogbeifun