St Peter in Penitence, El Greco [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Matthew 18:21-35 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised CatholicEdition)
Then Peter came and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’
The Misa Criolla, by Argentinian composer Ariel Ramírez (1921-2010), is a Mass for tenor, chorus and orchestra, is based on folk genres such as chacarera, carnavalito and estilo pampeano, with Andean influences and instruments. It is also one of the first Masses to be composed in a modern language. Ramírez wrote the piece in 1963-1964. In Latin America 'Kyrie eleison', is translated as 'Señor, ten piedad de nosotros', 'Lord, have mercy on us', whereas in Spain it is 'Señor, ten piedad', 'Lord, have mercy'. Here it is sung by Los Frontizeros and the choir of San Isidro Cathedral, Buenos Aires. I do not know to what extent the Misa Criolla has been used in worship, as distinct from concert performances.
Fr Werenfried van Straaten OPraem [Wikipedia]
Today's gospel brings us in touch with what is perhaps its most difficult demand: to forgive. El Greco's painting shows us St Peter praying with hope and trust in God's merciful and forgiving love. The setting by Ariel Ramírez of the Kyrie expresses the same thing.
Two examples come to mind. One is that of Fr Werenfried van Straaten OPraem (1913-2003), about whom I posted on 6 June 2011. A Dutchman, he appealed to his fellow Dutch citizens who had suffered greatly from the Germans during World War II to help German refugees after the war by supplying food and other necessities. He was also deeply concerned about the spiritual welfare of the refugees. His request, especially to those who had family members killed by German soldiers, pushed some of his listeners to the limit. But they acted according to today's gospel and found hatred and anger replaced by pity and love.
Another is an extract from a letter of Fr William Doyle SJ, an Irish priest who died in August 1917 while serving as a chaplain in the British Army in World War I. The extract is taken from a post in a wonderful blog called Remembering Fr William Doyle SJ.
Father Doyle writes to his father in Dublin about events of 5 September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme:
Father Doyle's description of the British and German soldiers holding hands in death illustrates poignantly and powerfully what Jesus asks of us.
Christ Carrying the Cross, El Greco [Web Gallery of Art]
Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).