News & Resources

News & Resources

Gospel Reflection: September 17, 2023 - Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 17, 2023

Matthew 18:21-35

“How often should I forgive?”

Seventeen years ago, in a mining town in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a tragic shooting took place in an Amish one-room schoolhouse.  Charles Carl Roberts IV shot ten schoolgirls, killing five.

On the day of the shooting, a grandfather of one of the murdered victims was cautioning his relatives: “We must not think evil of this man. He had a mother and father and wife and now is standing before a just God.”

Although the world was stunned at the immediate forgiveness of the victims’ parents, the Amish are known for their strict adherence to the teaching of the Bible. “How often?” Peter asked, “Should I forgive”? To the Amish, this means now and as many times as needed. They quickly assured the mother of the killer of their forgiveness, bringing consolation and food, and in turn the Rogers family, assisted at taking care of the children who lived and are suffering physically and mentally. These families became close in friendship and help whenever and wherever needed to this day.

Forgiveness is most difficult to do. Criminals many times are judged on their willingness to show remorse or forgiveness, an emotion so hard to respond to. Yet the last words of Our Lord on the Cross were “Father, forgive them...”

I challenge you to take time and use your favorite search engine to find and reflect on these families and how forgiveness brings at least some peace and comfort to all involved.

Who in your life needs your forgiveness? Are you willing to take the advice of Jesus even after a year or years of keeping that grudge?

I challenge you as Jesus challenged Peter and all of us to “forgive seventy times,” which in Bible language means always.

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive you your sins.” (Mt. 6:15)

Share this!

Would you like our sisters to pray for your intentions? Send us a prayer request.