Saturday, September 16, 2017



September 17, 2017 - 24th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Sir 27: 30- 28: 7 / Rom 14: 7- 9 / Mt 18: 21- 35

[Bicolandia: Our Lady of Penafrancia, Patroness of Bicol Region]

     He who demands revenge will suffer the vengeance of the Lord who keeps a strict account of his sins. Forgive the mistakes of your neighbor and you may ask that your sins be forgiven.

GOSPEL READING:  Mt 18: 21 - 35
     Then Peter asked him, "Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother or sister? Seven times?" Jesus answered, "No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."

     "This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven. A king decided to settle the accounts of his servants. Among the first was one who owed him ten thousand gold ingots. As the man could not repay the debt, the king commanded that he be sold as a slave with his wife, children and all his goods in payment. The official threw himself at the feet of the king and said, 'Give me time, and I will pay you back everything.' The king took pity on him and not only set him free but even canceled the debt.

     "This official then left the king's presence and he met one of his companions who owed him a hundred pieces of silver. He grabbed him by the neck and almost strangled him, shouting, 'Pay me what you owe!' His companion threw himself at his feet and asked him, 'Give me time and I will pay everything.' The other did not agree, but sent him to prison until he had paid all his debt.

     "His companions saw what happened. They were indignant and so they went and reported everything to their lord. Then the lord summoned his official and said, 'Wicked servant, I forgave you all that you owed when you begged me to do so. Weren't you bound to have pity on your companion as I had pity on you?' The lord was now angry, so he handed his servant over to be punished until he had paid his whole debt."

     Jesus added, "So will your heavenly Father do with you unless each of you sincerely forgive your brother or sister."

     The readings today speak of forgiveness. The first reading from Sirach exhorts the reader to shun anger and vengeance and instead to pardon a neighbor who has done wrong. The Gospel reading reiterates this call, clarifying his response to Peter with a parable: "Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother or sister? Seven times?" Jesus answered, "No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."

     Errors, mistakes, unjust actions come with our being human. One is too familiar with the maxim, "No one is perfect." This not only acknowledges our frailty but also calls for understanding for the error-prone human.

     Jewish religious leaders of ancient times realized this and their law provided that forgiveness be extended until the seventh offense. After that, the offender can no longer demand mercy and forgiveness. Jesus' response to Peter goes beyond traditional Jewish law: "Seventy-seven times" really says forgiveness should have no limits.

     In the parable, the king cancels a huge debt of an official. This same official could not mirror the king's generosity to a companion who owed him a much smaller amount. Instead of extending mercy, this unmerciful official demanded full payment and had his debtor-companion jailed.

     The parable shows God's limitless forgiveness to frail humans. By showing us his bottomless well of forgiveness, God summons us to mirror his mercy to fragile fellows. By allowing us to experience love which forgives, God calls us to reflect this kindness to others.

     American author Edith Wharton wrote, "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."

     In Christian spirituality God is the light which initiates; our role is to respond by being mirrors to others of God's actions to us. In our Christian faith, we are called to be mirrors which reflect God's light of forgiveness. We have been forgiven; this impels us to forgive. This is Jesus' message for us: easier said than done.





Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most. 

Have a good day!

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