Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time - 17th August 2017
Reading 1, Joshua 3:7-10, 11, 13-17
7 Yahweh said to Joshua, 'This very day, I shall begin to make you great in the eyes of all Israel so that they will know that, as I was with Moses, so I shall be with you.
8 Now, give this order to the priests carrying the ark of the covenant, "When you have reached the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you must halt in the Jordan itself." '
10 Joshua said, 'By this, you are to know that the living God is with you and without a doubt will expel the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites before you.
13 As soon as the priests carrying the ark of Yahweh, Lord of the whole earth, have set the soles of their feet in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off; the upper waters flowing down will stop as a single mass.'
14 Accordingly, when the people left their tents to cross the Jordan, the priests carried the ark of the covenant ahead of the people.
16 the upper waters stood still and formed a single mass over a great distance, at Adam, the town near Zarethan, while those flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely separated. The people crossed opposite Jericho.
17 The priests carrying the ark of the covenant of Yahweh stood firm on dry ground in mid-Jordan, while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until the whole nation had completed its crossing of the Jordan.
The Word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 114:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! When Israel came out of Egypt, the House of Jacob from a people of foreign speech,
2 Judah became his sanctuary, and Israel his domain.
3 The sea fled at the sight, the Jordan turned back,
4 the mountains skipped like rams, the hills like sheep.
5 Sea, what makes you flee? Jordan, why turn back?
6 Why skip like rams, you mountains? Why like sheep, you hills?
Gospel, Matthew 18:21--19:1
"Lord, how often shall I forgive my brother?"
21 Then Peter went up to him and said, 'Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?'
22 Jesus answered, 'Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.
23 'And so the kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants.
24 When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents;
25 he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt.
26 At this, the servant threw himself down at his master's feet, with the words, "Be patient with me and I will pay the whole sum."
27 And the servant's master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt.
28 Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow-servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him, saying, "Pay what you owe me."
29 His fellow-servant fell at his feet and appealed to him, saying, "Be patient with me and I will pay you."
30 But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt.
31 His fellow-servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him.
33 Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow-servant just as I had pity on you?"
34 And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt.
35 And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.'
1 Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and he left Galilee and came into the territory of Judaea on the far side of the Jordan.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection: Mercy is the flip-side of God's justice. Without mercy justice is cold, calculating, and even cruel. Mercy seasons justice as salt seasons meat and gives it flavor. Mercy follows justice and perfects it. Justice demands that the wrong be addressed. To show mercy without addressing the wrong and to pardon the unrepentant is not true mercy but license. C.S. Lewis, a 20th century Christian author wrote: "Mercy will flower only when it grows in the crannies of the rock of Justice: transplanted to the marshlands of mere Humanitarianism, it becomes a man-eating weed, all the more dangerous because it is still called by the same name as the mountain variety." If we want mercy shown to us we must be ready to forgive others from the heart as God has forgiven us. Do you hold any grudge or resentment towards anyone? Ask the Lord to purify your heart that you may show mercy and loving-kindness to all - and especially to those who cause you grief and ill-will.
Prayer: "Lord Jesus, you have been kind and forgiving towards me. May I be merciful as you are merciful. Free me from all bitterness and resentment that I may truly forgive from the heart those who have caused me injury or grief." Amen
Jesus paid our ransom to set us free from the debt of sin