24th Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 13, 2020

24A20.   Sirach 27:30-28:7.   “The vengeful will suffer the Lord’s vengeance.”  We have no right before God to be vengeful.   “Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your sins will be forgiven.”  Since we seek forgiveness for our own sins, how can we deny forgiveness to others for their sins?

Matthew 18:21-35.  Peter thinks that forgiving would be quite generous if we forgive seven times.  Jesus responds that we should forgive seventy-seven times, which is to say forgiving without end or infinitely because God’s love is infinite.  Then Jesus relates the story of the servant who was forgiven his debt by his master but was himself unforgiving to a fellow servant  who was a debtor to him.  When the master finds out what he has done, “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 the master punishes the servant who had received forgiveness but refused to be forgiving.  Jesus ends by saying, “So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”   Forgiveness does not mean that evil and sin are not hateful.  It does mean that we must leave room for the sinner to repent and become whole and holy.  That is the will of our loving God.  We ourselves are sinners who seek to become saints with the help of the Holy Spirit.  It is not right to freeze anyone into his sinful state with no opportunity to repent.  The mercy that God gives us is his forgiving love.  That same mercy God wants us to give to others.  In the ‘Our Father’ prayer we say, “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive others their trespasses against us.”

Romans 14:7-9.  “Brother and sisters: None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.  For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”  In this world we live in an earthly environment in which we ourselves and those around us are what is central and meaningful to us.  This is our life.  If God is truly God for us, then all that must die.  God must be our only life.  All else must flow from the center which is God.   When God is truly our life, the God of our life, everything else in our lives becomes infinitely richer and deeper.  We live as we never lived before because everything is as it should be, now and forever.