24th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2017
Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight.
These words of Sirach are as true today as when they were spoken some two centuries before the coming of Christ.
On the international level, we see how the hurts and pains of the wars and errors of the past still influence the threat of war today. We have just to think of Israel and Palestine, North Korea and the United States, the United States and Russia, etc. On the national level, we see that same pattern where the deep wounds of slavery and racism now overflow into violent demonstrations, gang affiliation, ongoing discrimination, etc. The anger and wrath expressed against illegal immigrants seems to focus especially on those of color.
Where is the anger and wrath in each of our own lives? Have we allowed the milieu of anger and resentment into our own heart? Do we always justify our discriminating point of view? Do we listen to each other, recognizing that we all sometimes fail? Do we forgive? Do we forgive ourselves? Do we hold on to resentments and pass our prejudices on to those who are under our influence?
Our past on all levels is filled with hurts, pains, injustices and disillusionments. However, these do not have to control our present. The cycle of anger and revenge needs to stop. The question of Sirach is still valid for us today: "Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?" We must forgive for healing to occur on all levels, international, national and personal. We certainly will not continue in unjust or unhealthy relationships, but we must forgive to be able to move forward. Why? Because in our past and in our present God has forgiven, is forgiving and will forgive through Christ our Lord.
Fr. Joseph Jablonski, MSC