Message 0005 Input and Reflection
September 9, 2020
John 3:13-17 Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross
September 10, 2020

Matthew 18:21-35

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sirach 27:30, 28:7
Romans 14:7-9
Matthew 18:21-35

A. Text/Context

  • Lord, how often must I forgive? As many as 7 times? Peter the spokesman of the disciples asks Jesus, and Jesus replied: not only 7 times but 70 times 7
  • For our added information the no. 7 in the Scriptures is a perfect number. 7 is God’s divine number. In the Church also the 7 sacraments, the 7 capital sins
  • Apparently, it was Peter who gave the suggestion is it 7 times? In Genesis, whoever kills Cain will be revenged 7 times. Whoever will kill Lamech the father of Noah will be revenged 70 times
  • If we play with numbers, this perfect number is multiplied by itself and that is 49, multiplied again by 10 and that’s 490 times to be exact that we have to forgive our erring and sinful neighbor
  • For God’s sake who among us can do this? Definitely, if we just look at our own human limitations and temperament, forgiving others 490 times is simply gross and an abuse in itself
  • But the gospel dos not really mean the literal meaning and what is really imparted here is the unending mercy of God. The infinite forgiveness that God can give
  • To make it short Jesus is against revenge. The revenge or vendetta so expressly specified in the OT is now changed by Jesus into forgiveness
  • So Jesus goes against the culture of revenge and hatred. It means that instead of making it even with our enemies, Jesus offers an alternative and that is forgiveness
  • And in the gospel the forgiveness of 70 times 7 is now followed with a parable of an unforgiving servant
  • The servant was freed from his huge debts by his master and he was forgiven
  • But did the servant treat others according to the way the master has forgiven him? No, instead, the one who owed him just a little was sent to jail
  • Look at that, he was not able to forgive the smaller sins. The master did something good to him but he did not do the same to others

B. Human Situation

  • So the parable in the gospel today gives us a beautiful point of reflection. The unforgiving servant did not learn anything from the goodness of his master
  • He did not learn the lesson of love and charity that he benefited from his master
  • The servant is a recipient of an overwhelming forgiveness from his master but he cannot even forgive a smaller sin by others
  • So what happened? It was taken away from him and in the end he himself was punished
  • This shows that even with a very generous and forgiving God there is always an accompanying justice that goes with it
  • Now we go to the crucial question? Can we forgive other people over and over again?
  • It is now very clear in the gospel that if the one who is forgiven will not renew his life then so be it, he will have to pay for the consequences
  • It is very clear that if God has forgiven us then we must change for the better and it has to be manifested and seen in our life
  • The reason for this is that God wants us to avoid committing the same sin over and over again
  • If we look at the gospel just as it is, and without any reflection we will never understand what is meant by a long lasting forgiveness
  • But you see for every forgiveness that we receive from God there is always the demand and the duty of renewal in our lives
  • The sinner must learn a lesson because if there is no lesson we keep on committing the same sin again
  • How can we control evil in this world if all the sins will just be carelessly committed, after all, we will all be forgiven as many times as we commit. In this case, evil wins
  • In the first reading we receive the same message, to forgive our neighbors. And in the second reading we are reminded that even those who are already dead their sins can be forgiven because Jesus is the Lord both for the dead and the living
  • The sins of the dead are forgiven through the prayers of the living. That is why we pray for the dead. That is why we offer masses for the dead as well as offer prayers for 9 days, for the 40th day and for death anniversaries

C. Challenge

  • The gospel today is reminding us of the endless and infinite mercy of God for all sinners at least as we still live in the hour of mercy
  • Yet we are also reminded that while God is so merciful he is also very just at the same time and that will be when the hour of justice has already arrived
  • A lot of people tend to forget of the justice of God. We are quick to accept that God is merciful but slow to accept that God is just
  • In a vision, Sr. Faustina was given a tour of purgatory. And Sr. Faustina was so repulsed of the immense suffering there, that if she was not in company with the Lord she could have died of horror
  • But the Lord Jesus explained to her: “This is not needed in my mercy. But my justice requires it”
  • So my brothers and sisters, if the sins done to us are just very small and trivial, let us just forgive them easily so those who wronged us and those who are wronged can live in peace
  • I understand, it is not very easy to forgive if the wrong done to us is huge. So let us not force ourselves to forgive, but let the time pass
  • The passage of time can also heal us. Time can heal but it must be in the shortest time possible
  • Remember that we are not the only ones bothered if others have wronged us. The ones who wronged us are even more bothered
  • I have so many cases like that. Sins committed 5, 10, or 15 years ago still continue to haunt the conscience of people
  • So if we are a forgiving Christian, send the message of forgiveness even if the person who sin against you did not ask for it
  • Send the message of reconciliation even if the person who transgressed you did not even bother to care about his or her faults
  • Grant the necessary forgiveness even if they are unsolicited because there is so much grace that goes with forgiveness, because the one who forgives, is the happiest person on top of this world
  • Make use of the opportunity that whatever sin we commit and no matter how dark and despicable it is, the mercy of God is waiting for us
  • The infinity of God’s mercy means that whatever is the gravity and depth of our sins are, they will all be forgiven
  • The infinity of God’s mercy does not mean that it will continue forever and ever. It will also end at a proper time because of the Last Judgment
  • So right now, we take the opportunity, avail of the mercy of God, we search our souls of the sins we have done, and the sins we have failed to do and go to confession and feel the joy of forgiveness
  • The abuse, the pain, the hurt that you have experienced, you now give room to let them go and feel the joy of freedom from all pains and past mistakes
  • Feel the signs of the times that we are already in the last moments of God’s mercy
  • God is waiting for us to bend our knees in prayer so He can grant us his forgiveness and show us his love
  • Tell all the people you know that today is now the right moment to be in the total protection of our Lord and our Mother
  • Because when the hour justice comes all will be late


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