Theme: WE MUST FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER BECAUSE THE LORD HAS FORGIVEN US
- Ecclesiasticus 27:30-28:7;
- Psalm 102 (103): 1-4. 9-12. R/ v. 8;
- Romans 14:7-9
- Matthew 18:21-35
Today is the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that we must forgive one another because the Lord has first forgiven us!
The gospel today tells us that Peter asked Jesus, how many times must he forgive his brother, is it seven times; but Jesus answered, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
That is, Peter asked Jesus if he must forgive many times, but Jesus answered, not many times, but all the time. God has forgiven us all the time; we must also forgive others all the time!
The gospel also tells us of the parable of the king who forgave his servant of a very big sum of “ten thousand talents”. His servant only asked that he be given time to pay back the debt, but the king cancelled his debt altogether! God is more forgiving than we can ever ask for!
But more importantly, the gospel tells us that when the servant met a fellow servant who owed him only a very small sum of “one hundred denarii”, he did not forgive him, even though he only asked that he be given time to pay back the debt. He had him put in jail until he should pay back the debt.
When the king heard of what had happened, he summoned his servant and said to him:
I have forgiven you your debt; why have you not forgiven the debt of your fellow servant.
In his anger the king had him sent to the torturers until he should pay up all his debts. In fact the debt is so huge that it is impossible to pay up!
The moral of the parable is that God has forgiven us, so we must forgive one another!
If we do not forgive one another, God will not forgive us!
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that if we forgive others, God will forgive us; but if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us! Thus we read in the first reading:
“He who exacts vengeance will experience the vengeance of the Lord, who keeps strict account of sin. Forgive your neighbor the hurt he does to you, and when you pray, your sins will be forgiven. If a man nurses anger against another, can he then demand compassion from the Lord? Showing no pity for a man like himself, can he then plead for his own sins? Mere creature of flesh, he cherishes resentment; who will forgive him his sins?” (Si 28:1-5; SM)
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord is love, mercy and forgiveness! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.” (Ps 102 (103): 8; SM)
And thus the second, third and fourth stanzas of the responsorial psalm:
“It is he who forgives all your guilt, who heals every one of your ills, who redeems your life from the grave, who crowns you with love and compassion.
His wrath will come to an end; he will not be angry for ever. He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults.
For as the heavens are high above the earth so strong is his love for those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west so far does he remove our sins.” (Ps 102 (103): 3-4. 9-12; SM)
The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something very important to tell us.
The second reading tells us that if we live, we live for the Lord and if we die, we die for the Lord for we belong to the Lord.
In the same way if we live, we live for one another and if we die, we die for one another because we belong to one another. Thus we read in the second reading:
“The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord.” (Rm 14: 7-8; SM)
Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will forgive us our sins and help us forgive the sins of others.
The Holy Spirit will help us live and die for the Lord. And the Holy Spirit will help us live and die for one another.
Again, a happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you! Amen.
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.