Welcome to the Cathedral Church of Saints Peter & Paul, Clifton.


A project to upgrade the hearing and lighting in Clifton Cathedral is now underway. For the duration of this project, the Cathedral will be closed to the public from Monday to Friday. Weekday Masses are once again being celebrated in the James Room. Weekend Masses will continue to be celebrated in the Cathedral.


Sunday 17th September 2017
Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Ecclesiasticus 27:30 - 28:7     Romans 14: 7-9     Matthew 18: 21-35


Under the Thumb.

Why do we make Christians? Why do we baptise people? So that they can qualify to go to Church schools? So that we can reward friends by making them god-parents? To keep the mother-in-law happy?

The Creed tells us what baptism is for. “I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” We become Christians so that we may be forgiven. That’s the primary purpose of conversion, the reason we accept Christ, the motive that keeps us going. Forgiveness.

Our scripture readings today let us know that there is only one condition attached to this forgiveness. It’s ours for ever, as long as we offer the same forgiveness to anyone who has offended us. “If a person nurses anger against someone else, can they then demand compassion from the Lord?”

And this is where we part company from many others, including some religions. We do not believe in retribution, revenge, evening up the score. An eye for an eye is not on our agenda. Nor do we believe in having someone under our thumb just because they ‘owe us one’.

The problem with the wicked servant in the gospel was that he forgot about his own debt and demanded payment from others. He treated others as though he himself was perfect, forgetting that he too had been a debtor.

If we forgive someone it doesn’t mean that we have to condone what they have done to us. It just means that we free them from being indebted to us for their actions. It means letting them back with dignity. That’s what Jesus did by redeeming us on the cross. He does not hold our sin against us.

So the reason we become Christians is to be forgiven. And we can be sure of this forgiveness for as long as we are prepared to hand it on to others. Not grudgingly but generously. Not with conditions but freely. Not once but seventy-seven times.




Scripture Reflections (below) © Peter J Harrison 2017