Gospel Reflections

24th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Matthew 15:21-28

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Bernadette Turgeon

Published: September 17, 2017

Last night as I was watching the national news, it seemed that the whole world was falling apart.  It started off with the hurricanes, North Korea bombs, all the violence in the world and also with young people dying due to drug overdose in the small state of New Hampshire where I live. This summer I worked at the diocesan girls’ camp for my 15th summer.  I was saddened when many of the girls told me they no longer go to church. That has escalated over the past 3 or 4 years and their behavior tells me that Liturgy and Religious Education are no longer inviting them to live and forgive.

Reading the Gospel of Matthew brought to me another reality.  Peter asked Jesus how many times one ought to extend forgiveness to another.  Peter suggested seven times. Jesus replies not just seven but 70 times 7 times.  The number really is not as important but more important is the challenge that is put before us. There is a temptation to quantify forgiveness. Jesus’ point is that forgiveness is not about quantity.  When we ask God to forgive us we know it will happen.

How reluctant we are to forgive family members, neighbors, friends.  How often have I heard people say that they have not spoken to family members for years? One woman was telling me that her sister lives a couple 100 miles away.  I asked her if they get together.  Her response was that she had not talked to her in years. When I asked “why,” her response was that she could not remember the exact incident, but that she gave up on her sister a long time ago.

I have a nephew who is the black sheep to our family members.  He always calls me at Christmas or when I send birthday gifts, sometimes just to talk.  When my sister was dying, he took a day off from work to come see her.  I have asked family members why his family was not invited to his sister’s wedding or at family gatherings.  The response is always, ask someone else. I wonder if they all have the same reason or individual ones.

Do you have someone that you have not forgiven?  Sometimes the reason is big in our eyes, but may be just something small. 

A few weeks ago, Sr. Anne Louise Nadeau wrote in the Glimpses of God’s Goodness for the 22st Sunday: ‘Take up your cross’ is embracing the joy along with the frustration, the compassion with the boredom, the excitement with the loneliness, the mercy with the pain, the wonderful memories along with the hurtful ones, and the humor coupled with the impatience that is part of every life.  In short, we need to get on with living and (I add) forgiving.




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