THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2018
Wisdom of Ben Sira 27:30-28:7
Today’s readings are on forgiveness. Besides the great
importance of receiving forgiveness for our sins, forgiveness
is a major way by which God brings us to greatness, to be
as He Himself is. We are called to holiness, and this means
being set apart from the values of the world. This is what
differentiates saints from sinners.
is there so much strife in the world? It is because people,
in the way of the world, hold on to their anger. “Wrath
and anger, these also are abominations, yet a sinner holds
on to them.” (Sir27:30). Jesus warns against anger as
it can and does lead to strife and even murder (see Mt 5:21-22).
What is the solution? “Forgive your neighbor the wrong
done to you” (Sir28:2a).
forgiveness goes beyond just avoiding strife and having good
relations with others. It is about our own relationship with
God. And it is about our being forgiven by God as well. When
you forgive your neighbor, “then when you pray, your
own sins will be forgiven.”(Sir28:2b). If we do not
forgive others, then God will not forgive us. “Does
anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from
the Lord? Can one refuse mercy to a sinner like oneself, yet
seek pardon for one’s own sins?” (Sir 28:3-4).
we are not forgiven, then the consequences are dire.In the
parable of the unforgiving servant(Mt 18:23-35), Jesus teaches
that we will suffer eternal punishment (Mt 18:34). As we do
to others, God will do to us. “So will my heavenly Father
do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his
heart.” (Mt 18:35). “The vengeful will face the
Lord’s vengeance; indeed he remembers their sins in
detail.” (Sir 28:1).
forgiveness also goes beyond our being forgiven by God, important
as that is. As “merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow
to anger, abounding in mercy” (Ps 103:8), our forgiving
others is designed to make us like God. God not only “redeems
your life from the pit” (Ps 103:4a) but “crowns
you with mercy and compassion” (Ps 103:4b). From the
lowliness of the pit of our sinful lives to the summit of
the crown of mercy. That is being destined for greatness.
Such is God’s intent and will for us. And God has already
shown us the way. “Be merciful, just as your Father
is merciful.” (Lk 6:36).
must realize who we are, and what God intends for us to become.
We are children of God, we are disciples of the Master, we
belong to God. “None of us lives for oneself, and no
one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord,
and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live
or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Rom 14:7-8). Everything
is centered on Christ. Everything is about God. Our life on
earth must be spent to become more and more like God, striving
for Christian perfection. Forgiveness is a crucial key.
forget all this in life. “Remember your last days and
set enmity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from
sin! Remember the commandments and do not be angry with your
neighbor; remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook
faults.” (Sir 28:6-7). Forgiveness is not just about
being in right relationships with others, but about God’s
commandments and our covenant as Christians and our eternal
destination. It is about our relationship with God and being
like God. It is about being destined for greatness.