Ecclesiasticus 27:30 – 28:7. The Lord is kind and merciful; slow to anger and rich in compassion – Psalm 102(103):1-4, 9-12. Romans 14:7-9. Matthew 18:21-35.
‘Forgive your neighbour the hurt he does you; and when you pray, your sins will be forgiven’
I couldn’t help but identify with the Big Little Lies character Madeline Martha Mackenzie when she says ‘I love my grudges. I tend to them like little pets’. Grudges can sometimes be comforting things to carry around. The constant nurturing of our own hurts absolves us from acknowledging the hurt of others. Yet, how far this attitude is from the theme of today’s readings.
‘Resentment and anger, these are foul things and both are found with the sinner’ we are told in the first reading. ‘It is the Lord who forgives our guilt, who heals our ills, who redeems our life from the grave and who crowns us with love and compassion’, says the Psalm, while Jesus tells us we must forgive ‘seventy-seven’ times. Instead of nursing our grudges, let us pray for the courage to forgive, for it is in forgiving that we are forgiven. Again, from Ecclesiasticus, ‘If a man nurses anger against another, can he then demand compassion from the Lord?’
I pray Lord for compassion so I am worthy of your gifts of forgiveness and compassion.
Stay safe and well, God Bless
Mariangela and Lorraine
St. Joseph’s Parish Springvale, including St, Mark’s Dingley Village
FEASTS OF THE EXALTATION OF THE CROSS, OUR LADY OF SORROWS AND THE STIGMATA OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI
The Feast of the exaltation of the Cross is observed in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches on September 14. According to Christian tradition, during the first half of the fourth century, Saint Helena— Empress of the Roman Empire, and mother of Emperor Constantine the Great— went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ’s life. She demolished the second-century Temple of Aphrodite and started to build the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre on that spot. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman. St. Helena died in 330 AD and the Basilica was completed by her son five years later. The discovery of the true Cross by Saint Helena in 320 as well as the dedication of the Basilica and shrine built on Calvary by Constantine in 335 are remembered and celebrated on this day.
After these events, the cross, which was an object of contempt, immediately became an object of veneration. The Holy Cross became a symbol of our redemption and an image of Christian faith. The image of the Holy Cross invited Christians to meditate upon the unspeakable suffering that our loving Saviour endured for our salvation out of love for estranged humanity. Later on, Franciscans and other Religious Orders popularized this devotion in the Catholic world. Upon entering any Catholic Church or passing any type of Cross, St. Francis of Assisi and his followers, recited: “We adore You, O Christ, here and in all the Churches of the entire world, and we bless You, because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.” Thus, the Holy Cross became a symbol of Christ’s eternal love for each and every human person created in the image of God and redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. Through the celebration of this great feast we are reminded: “We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he is our salvation, our life and our resurrection: through him we are saved and made free.”
On September 15 we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Our Lady, the first and the best of all the disciples of Jesus, participated in the Passion of Christ in a unique way. She faithfully cooperated with our loving Saviour Jesus in his redemptive mission. From Bethlehem to Calvary she accompanied her divine Son. When Jesus was dying on the Cross, Mary faithfully stood at the foot of the Cross (Jn 19:25). She suffered with her Son for us. Because she endured intense suffering in her own life, Our Lady of Sorrows can understand our pain and comfort us. She is a precious gift God gave us as our comforter. May Our Lady be our companion in all our struggles!
St. Francis of Assisi was committed to imitating the humble, poor and crucified Christ to the best of his ability. In 1224, two years before his death, St. Francis went to Mount La Verna for a forty-day fast. On 17 September three days after the feast of the exaltation of the Holy Cross, he received the five wounds of Christ on his own body and became the first recorded stigmatic in Christian history. We ask the intercession of Our Lady of Sorrows and St. Francis that we also wholeheartedly carry our daily crosses so that we can also participate in the glory of the Resurrection of Christ.
St Joseph’s Catholic Parish