Liturgy of the Sunday
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Liturgy of the Sunday

Twenty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time Read more

Liturgy of the Sunday
Sunday, September 17

Twenty-fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

First Reading

Sirach 27,30-28,7


Psalm 103


How great you are O Lord, our God.

Bless the Lord, my soul!
Lord god, how great you are,

clothed in majesty and glory,
wrapped in light as in a robe!

You stretch out the heavens like a tent.
Above the rains you build your dwelling.

You make the cloud your chariot,
you walk on the wings of the wind,

you make the winds your messengers
and flashing fire your servants.

You founded the earth on its base,
to stand firm from age to age.

You wrapped it with the ocean like a cloak:
the waters stood higher than the mountains.

At your threat they took to flight;
at the voice of your thunder they fled.

They rose over the mountains and flowed down
to the place which you had appointed.

You set limits they might not pass
lest they return to cover the earth.

You make springs gush forth in the valleys:
they flow in between the hills.

They give drink to all the beasts of the field;
the wild-asses quench their thirst.

On their banks dwell the birds of heaven;
from the branches they sing their songs.

From your dwelling you water the hills;
earth drinks its fill of your gift.

You make the grass grow for the cattle
and the plants to serve man's needs,

that he may bring forth bread from the earth
and wine to cheer man's heart;

oil, to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man's heart.

The trees of the Lord drink their fill,
the cedars he planted on Lebanon;

there the birds build their nests:
on the tree-top the stork has her home.

The goats find a home on the mountains
and rabbits hide in the rocks.

You made the moon to mark the months;
the sun knows the time for its setting.

When you spread the darkness it is night
and all the beasts of the forest creep forth.

The young lions roar for their prey
and ask their food from God.

At the rising of the sun they steal away
and go to rest in their dens.

Man goes forth to his work,
to labour till evening falls.

How many are your works, O Lord!
In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your riches.

There is the sea, vast and wide,
with its moving swarms past counting,
living things great and small.

The ships are moving there
and the monsters you made to play with.

All of these look to you
to give them their food in due season.

You give it, they gather it up;
you open your hand, they have their fill.

You hide your face, they are dismayed;
you take back your spirit, they die,
returning to the dust from which they came.

You send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the earth.

May the glory of the Lord last for ever!
May the Lord rejoice in his works!

He looks on the earth and it trembles;
the mountains send forth smoke at his touch.

I will sing to the Lord all my life,
make music to my God while I live

May my thoughts be pleasing to him.
I find my joy in the Lord.

Let sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked exist no more.
Bless the Lord, my soul.

Second Reading

Romans 14,7-9

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 18,21-35


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia


For Jesus, forgiveness-like love-knows no bounds. We forgive and that's all, Jesus seems to be saying. As in love: he loves and that's all, all the way to the end, and freely. It is this limitlessness which makes forgiveness strong and able to uproot evil. Forgiveness without limits, like love without limits, changes the hearts of men and women, freeing them from the virus of evil. Whoever forgives does not let himself to be ensnared in the logic of evil, of resentment, of the unstoppable chain of revenge. Jesus asks us to forgive for the sake of love, and not for some calculation: this is what it means to forgive "with heart." And it is from this forgiveness of the heart that a new future begins, both for those receiving and for those giving. It is a future freed from enmity, guilt and sin. Forgiveness, though, does not mean pretending nothing happened. Jesus does not close his eyes on our sin: he is neither acquiescing nor distracted. Jesus recognizes evil and rejects it. He teaches the disciples to recognize it and to fight it, precisely with forgiveness and love. It is the clear teaching of the cross. There forgiveness is for the enemy.
It is a central lesson of the Gospel message. And Jesus explains it with the parable of the compassionate king and ruthless servant. The distance between the generosity of the king and the meanness of the servant is clear. The parable tells that the servant had accumulated a huge debt with the king: ten thousand talents. The king, who certainly had trusted that servant, judges harshly the servant's noncompliance. But in front of the request of the servant for an impossible extension to pay off the entire debt, the king has pity and goes much further: he releases all of the debt. The scene changes completely when this servant does not feel pity for his companion who owed him an insignificant sum: he does not feel anything and asks that his companion be condemned to jail. He is far from the compassion of the king.
It is easy to feel unease at the servant's meanness. But perhaps he is not a strange exception. If we look well, there is a little bit of that servant in all of us. Jesus call us to become aware of our debt and to understand it in a personal way. The Lord did not know calculation, but rather only the love which brought him to give his life for us. And we should pay attention when we say the Lord's prayer and we say to God: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." It is a measure that depends also on us. It is the meaning of the conversion of the heart that lives in love and forgiveness.

Prayer is the heart of the life of the Community of Sant'Egidio and is its absolute priority. At the end of the day, every the Community of Sant'Egidio, large or small, gathers around the Lord to listen to his Word. The Word of God and the prayer are, in fact, the very basis of the whole life of the Community. The disciples cannot do other than remain at the feet of Jesus, as did Mary of Bethany, to receive his love and learn his ways (Phil. 2:5).
So every evening, when the Community returns to the feet of the Lord, it repeats the words of the anonymous disciple: " Lord, teach us how to pray". Jesus, Master of prayer, continues to answer: "When you pray, say: Abba, Father". It is not a simple exhortation, it is much more. With these words Jesus lets the disciples participate in his own relationship with the Father. Therefore in prayer, the fact of being children of the Father who is in heaven, comes before the words we may say. So praying is above all a way of being! That is to say we are children who turn with faith to the Father, certain that they will be heard.
Jesus teaches us to call God "Our Father". And not simply "Father" or "My Father". Disciples, even when they pray on their own, are never isolated nor they are orphans; they are always members of the Lord's family.
In praying together, beside the mystery of being children of God, there is also the mystery of brotherhood, as the Father of the Church said: "You cannot have God as father without having the church as mother". When praying together, the Holy Spirit assembles the disciples in the upper room together with Mary, the Lord's mother, so that they may direct their gaze towards the Lord's face and learn from Him the secret of his Heart.
 The Communities of Sant'Egidio all over the world gather in the various places of prayer and lay before the Lord the hopes and the sufferings of the tired, exhausted crowds of which the Gospel speaks ( Mat. 9: 3-7 ), In these ancient crowds we can see the huge masses of the modern cities, the millions of refugees who continue to flee their countries, the poor, relegated to the very fringe of life and all those who are waiting for someone to take care of them. Praying together includes the cry, the invocation, the aspiration, the desire for peace, the healing and salvation of the men and women of this world. Prayer is never in vain; it rises ceaselessly to the Lord so that anguish is turned into hope, tears into joy, despair into happiness, and solitude into communion. May the Kingdom of God come soon among people!