The book of Sirach is one of the Wisdom books of the Old Testament. And it certainly is a very wise book. Today, for example, it reminds us that if we are not merciful and forgiving, we, who are but creatures, how can we expect the almighty and the all powerful God to be merciful and forgiving with us? Yet, that is how we often act. We do not apply the same standards to others as we would like apply to our self. Jesus underlines this in the message to Peter in the Gospel today. Peter, like us, wants to know how many times must he forgive his brother or sister. He asked for a number. And Jesus responds, “Not seven times but 70×7 times.” In other words, infinity.
In this very contentious time in our country, we need to remember that “wrath and anger are hateful things.” We need to be people of mercy and love and forgiveness if we expect God to treat us in that way. Let’s not be people of double standards.