September 13, 2020
Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time A
Sirach 27:30-28:9; Romans 14:7-9; Matthew 18:21-35
As children, we love to be told stories. It seems almost wired in us to want to hear, imagine, and enjoy a great tale. Jesus knows this, uses this longing to teach us something important, and heavens, does He deliver! This wonderful parable begins with the simple question from St. Peter: “How often must I forgive my brother, as many as seven times?” At first, it might seem that Peter is being petty…only seven times? But, think of it: if someone were to wrong us time after time after time after time after time after time after time [that’s seven times, by the way], it would become quite a lot to take. How many of us would continue to be in a relationship with that person? How long before we felt like a doormat? We are only human, after all. But now let’s look at how Jesus responds to the question about how many times we should forgive: He does so with a great story about a king who forgives and a servant who does not. The core of this parable is that there are no limits to forgiveness. If God forgives us for so much, how can we not see that we need to forgive one another? How can we refuse to at least try to bring that healing touch of God’s love and forgiveness to others if we call ourselves Christian? This does not mean that we are naïve about situations. Jesus shows us that mercy does not mean stupidity. We need to be sensible, but first of all merciful. Forgiveness, mercy, and love provide a framework for Christian life. Jesus tells us stories about it, teaches about it, and lives it. We are called to do the same.