「Spiritual Talk」Twenty Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

by Kenny Cheng

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Twenty Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time and today’s Gospel reading comes from Matthew 18:21-35. Previously, the chapter discussed how to deal with sinners in the Church. Now, Peter asks Jesus how many times to forgive and receives this reply, “Not seven times, but seventy seven times.” Jesus spoke a parable of a servant who owed his master 60 million days of wages and was told to sell his family to repay his debt. The servant begged his master who was moved enough to forgive his entire debt. But the servant then saw another servant who owed him a hundred days of wages and proceeded to demand it repaid. The second servant begged him for forgiveness, but the first servant would not forgive him and threw him into prison until he could repay his debt. The other servants were angry and told the master who imprisoned the first servant. When we sin, our debt against God is enormous, because we have offended the infinite God, and only the Precious Blood of Jesus can eliminate the debt of sin. Our neighbours are like the second servant: if even God has already forgiven our massive debts, how can we refuse to forgive those who owe us much less? When we do not forgive others, the angels and saints in Heaven will accuse us before God. In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” This clearly reminds us that those who are unwilling to forgive others have closed themselves to the possibility of receiving forgiveness from God. Sometimes we are gravely hurt by others, but forgiveness consists not in feelings but in the will. If we are willing to wish the good of the sinner and pray for their repentance and conversion, then that is already the first step to forgiveness.

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