24th SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
On Friday we saw terrorism rearing its ugly head again with another incident in London. Thankfully no one was killed and we pray for all those who were affected. We also continue to pray for all those who have been affected by the Hurricane in the Caribbean that they will be able to get their lives back to normal as soon as possible in some places its reported that this could take up to two years.
Our Gospel reading for this Sunday is all about forgiveness. The parable of the unforgiving official is told in order to underline our need for forgiveness. When the king calls his court officials to audit the accounts, one shows a deficiency of ten thousand talents, a colossal sum of money. The sum is deliberately extravagant, running into millions of pounds, to heighten the contrast with the few pounds owed to the official. When the king orders the sale of the debtor and his family into slavery, the official pleads for time.
The king feels sorry for him and decides to remit the whole of the vast debt. The official, however, learns nothing from his experience, for he refuses to give a colleague time to pay a trifling debt; instead, he has him thrown into prison. When this heartless behaviour is reported to the king, the grant of full forgiveness is withdrawn and the unforgiving official is thrown to the torturers. What do we learn from this parable about showing mercy the saying goes that the mercy we show to others will also be the mercy that will be shown to us in our turn. We often forget that God showed us mercy In the same way that the king showed mercy to the official! If we think we do not need the mercy of God we need to stop and think about it for all of us need gods mercy in one way or another. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it was difficult to forgive someone who offended you all of us have been in that situation at some time in our lives. Forgiveness can be very hard in many situations, and for this reason it takes a long time before we bring ourselves to forgive those who sin against us especially when they might be people we trusted a lot.
In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus seems to tell us that God’s forgiveness has necessary limits, but perhaps these are just the limits we set. The unforgiving slave brings judgement on himself by treating his own forgiveness as a license to bring judgement on others. He thus transforms a merciful king into a vengeful judge. The problem lies not with the king, or even by analogy with God, but with the world the slave insists on constructing for himself, under which terms his fate is now set. With whom, and to what systems, do we bind ourselves each day? Each day let us ask the Lord for forgiveness for all our sins Let us forgive all those who have sinned against us because that is what our father in heaven asks us to do. Remember our Father in heaven sent us Jesus his son to point the way and he encourages us to follow him.