Our readings this week continue the theme of reconciliation and healing wounds.  The responsorial psalm captures the essence of the twin concepts expressed throughout the readings.  “The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.”  We must let go of our anger and forgive those who have wronged us.  This is where reconciliation begins.  Jesus’s response to Peter’s question in the gospel suggests that forgiveness does not end.  We continue to forgive with grace and mercy for as long as it takes.

As Vincentians, we face many times when those we help fail to meet our expectations of their response to the help we give.  Perhaps they make unwise decisions.  Maybe they misuse money we give them.  Perhaps they flat out lie to us.  It is easy and tempting to simply write them off and move on to the next person.  The hard thing to do is to forgive them, and to continue to try and find ways to help them and move them to a better place in their lives.  Forgiveness, mercy and compassion insist that we do exactly that though.  When have we been challenged to continue in ministry, to set aside our distrust, our hurt, and our self-righteousness so that we might continue to extend God’s love and compassion to others?

Father, grace me with the virtue of gentleness and meekness that I may find patience when I feel wounded or hurt.  Allow me to replace my anger with mercy and compassion, that I may continually focus on the pains others are feeling even when I am wronged by them.  Give me the courage to never let go of extending your love and forgiveness to all without condition or reservation.  I pray all of this in your Son’s name.  Amen

Deacon Mike