Thought for the week, 17 September 2017

By Miriam Samuel

Forgiveness comes from the heart. The forgiving Lord in the parable forgave because he felt pity for the slave who pleaded with him. Joseph forgave his Brothers because what they had done in anger and greed had led to very good consequences. Peter was instructed to forgive members of the Church and to keep on forgiving them - and it is interesting that even at the beginning of the Christian Church it was accepted that there would still be in-fighting, squabbling and sinning against our brothers and sisters in the faith.

It is perhaps odd though that here there is no message of forgiveness to those with whom there is no bond or other relationship - for instance, there is no instruction to forgive a stranger who harms us (although that may come elsewhere, tied in with the requirement that we 'turn the other cheek'). It may simply be that forgiveness of strangers is too big a topic to deal with in so few words.

The main message of the readings is that no matter how annoying our family and friends may seem to be, if we are meant to be Christians we must forgive them in return for all the times we have been forgiven ourselves.