All communities have their ups and downs, even the new Christian community that Matthew wrote for. Amongst others, Paul too, had a number of problems with the Corinthians. We have found ‘troubles’; some very peculiar to Covid-19, in our communities.
Locally, school communities suffered, somewhat unjustly, when staff were reported as being positive with the bug. The social media had a field day spreading the gossip, not knowing all the facts and making the presumption that the individual had deliberately brought the bug to the school. Not much sympathy for the health and wellbeing of the person.
As the first reading says, “Resentment and anger, these are foul things…” Their effects can multiply as fast as the bug itself!
Well, what can be done and what can you and I do?
First and foremost, we must believe in the importance of forgiveness. Whatever the injunctions in today’s scripture, and there are many, from our Christian perspective we begin with the words and action of Jesus from the Cross…
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
It is a high benchmark. It sealed his teaching. He left a legacy. The great dictators of the last 100 years, whether they be like the Hitlers and Maos of the world to the lesser villains like the Pol Pots, they did not leave a legacy of goodness.
So, in our book we aim for quality not quantity.
We believe that the life and death of each of us can make a difference.
We believe that to expect justice from God we must practise justice with all, and if we want mercy from God then we must be merciful to others.
Secondly, we must live what we proclaim.
In our increasingly semi-religious society, we need to bring our beliefs more to the surface and confront the increasingly harsh and judgemental atmosphere that surrounds us.
“Not seven, I tell you but seventy-seven times.”