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Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Joshua 3:7-11, 13-17 & Mt. 18:21-19:1

The power and the forgiveness of God are demonstrated in today's two readings. Is it possible to take a group of weak and simple people, devoid of weapons and other resources, and lead them from slavery in a powerful country to a promised land? No human leader could have accomplished this feat.

It is God and God alone who achieved good things for His people. The story of the parting of the waters is so unusual that it should immediately make us realise that God had to be at work for the benefit of His people.

In the Gospel we see the forgiveness of God, as represented by the king who wiped out the huge debt owed him by his servant. That kind of thing does not happen in human affairs. People want their money, and it seems the wealthier they are, the more demanding that everything owed be paid. Wiping out the debt is a symbol of God's forgiveness which, like His power, is beyond our ability to imagine. He does this in a superhuman way through the blood of His Son, shed on the Cross for the forgiveness of sins. The giving up of His Son for others is also beyond what humans could even begin to contemplate.

We are not able to do what God can do. We cannot control the power of the sea and we cannot forgive the whole world of its sins. In fact, we find forgiveness very difficult and, like Saint Peter, we may sometimes feel that enough is enough. Perhaps we would find it a little easier if we concentrate on the great burden which God has removed from us. We should never forget that Jesus forgave those who mocked, scourged and even crucified Him.

Lord Jesus, with Your help, and Your example, let us do what we can to forgive the people who offend and hurt us.

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