1996 Sept 15 – 24th Sun. Ord (Bulletin Letters)
24th Sun Ord
Mt 18, 21-35
“You worthless wretch! I canceled your entire debt when you pleaded with me. Should you not have dealt mercifully with your fellow servant, as I dealt with you?” Mt. 18/
In this weekend’s Gospel from Matthew, Jesus tells the parable of the unforgiving servant. In the telling of this parable, Jesus lays out the spiritual dynamic that takes place when a Christian refuse to forgive.
In the parable, the King forgive his servant a huge debt. This huge forgiven debt is like the debt to sin that is forgiven in every Christian baptism. No human being is able to repay this debt of Original Sin without the help of God.
The Good News of the New Testament is that God’s help and saving Grace in Jesus Christ is given freely and unconditionally to any and all people.
Though God’s forgiveness and saving Grace is freely and unconditionally given, it is by no means a sure thing. There is a human side to this spiritual dynamic. Even though there is nothing we can do or say to earn God’s saving Grace, because we are human beings with a free will, we are still free to accept or reject God’s love.
What the parable says so clearly is that our acceptance or rejection of God’s saving Grace is determined by how forgiving we are to those who have wronged us.
In other words, on God’s part, God is eager and ready to forgive any and all sinners. But on the human side of this arraignment, God’s love is limited to the degree that we are willing to forgive each other.
The key to forgiveness is recognizing ourselves in other persons. There is a certain blindness or arrogance, that denies we have anything in common with those who do wrong. Especially those who get caught at it. This “Holier Than Thou” attitude is certainly part of the rational behind the build up of our intolerable prison system.
Forgiveness Don’t Come Easy
Forgiving people who have wronged us can be the hardest thing a person can do. There are few who escape life without ever being personally wronged by a trusted friend or loved one.
A couple of my own relationships come to mind. In both cases, I feel myself reluctant to forgive the other. I also know that when I step back and try to get a New Testament perspective, the wrongs done to me are not so great that I should be holding a grudge and not be forgiving. Yet, I find that I’m still not ready to forgive.
Gospel stories like todays remind me that I’ve got a long way to go before I can fully say that I am a New Testament person. I also know what I need to pray for. I need to continue to ask God to healed my harden heart and help me come to forgive.
Maybe in a society of faultless beings, forgiveness would not be so important. Among us human beings however, forgiveness is love’s first name. It is essential in any truly human endeavor or loving relationship.
96 09 15
Religious Education Programs Start This Week.
Are your kids signed up? Call Roseanna Dittmer for more information: 534- 4197
Weekly Bible Study Openings
News of Dorothy Panther and Ann Selders moving and leaving the parish this month prompts me to invite you of our weekly Bible Study that takes place after the 8:00 a.m. Thursday morning Masses. Both Dorothy and Ann have been part of our study group from the beginning. In their leaving they will be missed. With their leaving we could use a couple of new members. We use a lectionary base study program and study the next Sunday readings in advance. Anyone is welcome to join us. Check the bulletin schedule page for place and time.
Sunday, Sept. 29
St. Mary’s of Lacona’s annual Smorgasbord is just around the corner. Lacona people make sure you get your work and food assignments. The rest of you make sure you mark you calenders for Sunday Sept. 29 between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. for the best supper in the county.
Fr. Frank attending Annual Mid-West Catholic Worker Gathering Sept. 20-22.
I will be attending the annual Mid-West Catholic Worker gathering in Sugar Creek Ia. Anywhere between 60 to 120 Catholic Workers, friends and supporters show up for these annual gatherings. We hope to have a good contingent from Des Moines Catholic Worker attending this years gathering. Fr. David Fleming will be covering my weekend Masses.