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Lectionary Readings for Today – Forgiveness

Hatred is its own punishment. We are called upon to forgive, and to live lives of goodness and mercy.

Ecclesiaticus, or Sirach 27: 30 – 28: 7 (Roman Catholic)

27:30 (NRSV) Anger and wrath, these also are abominations,
yet a sinner holds on to them.
28:1 The vengeful will face the Lord’s vengeance,
for he keeps a strict account of their sins.
2 Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done,
and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray.
3 Does anyone harbor anger against another,
and expect healing from the Lord?
4 If one has no mercy toward another like himself,
can he then seek pardon for his own sins?
5 If a mere mortal harbors wrath,
who will make an atoning sacrifice for his sins?
6 Remember the end of your life, and set enmity aside;
remember corruption and death, and be true to the commandments.
7 Remember the commandments, and do not be angry with your neighbor;
remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook faults.

Genesis 50: 15 – 21 (alt. for RCL)

Gene 50:15 (NRSV) Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” 16 So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17 “Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20 Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21 So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

NEW TESTAMENT: Romans 14: 1 – 12 (RCL)
Romans 14: 7 – 9 (Roman Catholic)

Roma 14:1 (NRSV) Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. 2 Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3 Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5 Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 6 Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.
7 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

GOSPEL: Matthew 18: 21 – 35 (all)

Matt 18:21 (NRSV) Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.
23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25 and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.’ 29 Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

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September 11, 2011 Posted by | Spiritual | | Leave a comment

10 Years Later, 9/11

I have a photo I love, my favorite nephew posing in his thobe and kefiya and egal, all of it just a little off, a little not-right, if you are really Arab and know how they are worn, but I love the quirkiness of it. I took that photo on September 10th, ten years ago today. He and his parents had just returned from a fabulous trip – meeting up with AdventureMan and me in Paris, coming to our house in Germany, traveling on to Greece and then to Egypt. While they were traveling, I returned to the US for a wedding, and met up with them once again at their house.

The next morning, my nephew stuck his head in my bedroom and said “Aunt Intlxpatr, there’s something you need to see.” The first plane had just struck the World Trade Center Buildings.

“That’s not good. You can’t hit a building by accident; you really have to aim to hit a building.” I was still fuzzy headed, but the adrenalin was pumping and he and I remained riveted to CNN. It wasn’t long before the second plane hit, and all the world changed. Sometimes it seems to me like the fact that the Pentagon was also hit gets lost these days.

I had tickets back to Germany but wasn’t sure if my plane would even fly. It was a scary time, a lot of dire speculation and not a lot of facts to back it up. As it turned out, my flight was one of the first international flights out, and it was packed with all the people who had been stuck in Seattle for a week trying to get back.

For about a year, I was obsessed with reading everything I could about 9/11, and then I just hit overload, and went the other way. It’s like I felt I would explode from all the contradictory information, all the scare tactics, all the misinformation and conspiracy theories floating around, so for most of the time, I just shut it out.

I keep the photo of my nephew where I can see it often, and think about a time when we lived in a brighter world.

September 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment