Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Father David Daly, LC
Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’ Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that you came into this world to redeem sinners. I hope in you, and in your power to transform my soul, by your grace, from sinfulness to holiness. Lord, I love you and offer you the longings of my heart to put you truly first in my life. I want to love you with all my mind, heart, soul and strength.
Petition: Lord Jesus Christ, help me to forgive my brothers and sisters from the heart.
- Seventy-seven Times: Jesus surprises Peter with this symbolic response. He surprises us, too, with the depth of his mercy. We, like Peter, think ourselves generous when we forgive our neighbors generously — seven times. But Jesus forgives in an unlimited manner — “seventy-seven” times –– and teaches us to do the same. This parable teaches us about God’s unlimited mercy for each one of us. He calls us to imitate him in this characteristically Christian virtue.
- Have Patience with Me: The servant who owes the master ten thousand talents represents each one of us before God. We owe everything to God and without his help we are totally unable to make up for our sins. Yet God in his mercy has chosen to forgive us.
In receiving God’s patient love, our lives have been changed. We have new life because of Jesus Christ!
- You Wicked Servant: Despite the great love we have received, sometimes we can be unforgiving toward our neighbors, just like the servant whose debt was pardoned. The forgiven servant becomes a wicked servant the moment he does not “forgive as he has been forgiven.” How easy it is to forget God’s love when we feel the pressure to “produce”! We become like that wicked servant, forgetting God and demanding a purely human justice from those around us — family, friends and business associates.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, your lesson of forgiveness is very clear in this parable. You desire followers who imitate you, who will “love one another as you have loved them.” Teach me this humility and gratitude that will lead me to patiently pardon all of those around me.
Resolution: Lord, today I promise to forgive at least one person who has offended me.