Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

Posté par diaconos le 15 septembre 2023

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A dans Catéchèse

From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Matthew

At that time Peter came to Jesus and asked him, « Lord, when my brother does wrong against me, how often must I forgive him? Up to seven times ? » Jesus replied : « I’m not telling you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven times. » So the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. He was just beginning to do so when someone was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents (that is, sixty million silver coins).

As the man had no money to repay the debt, the master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all his possessions, to pay off the debt. The servant fell down at his feet, prostrated himself and said : « Have patience with me, and I’ll pay you back everything. Moved with compassion, the servant’s master let him go and forgave him his debt. But when the servant went out, he found one of his companions who owed him a hundred silver coins.

He threw himself on him and strangled him, saying : « Pay back your debt ! » Then his companion fell at his feet and begged him  : « Have patience with me, and I’ll pay you back.«   But the other refused and had him thrown into prison until he had paid back what he owed. When his companions saw this, they were deeply saddened and went to tell their master everything that had happened.

Then he called him and said to him: ‘Evil servant! I gave you all this debt because you begged me. Shouldn’t you, in your turn, have had pity on your companion, as I had had pity on you ? In his anger, his master handed him over to the executioners until he had paid back everything he owed.

This is how my Father in heaven will treat you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from the bottom of his heart ». Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us !This twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Forgiveness Sunday, brings us face to face with the profoundly human and genuinely Christian reality of forgiveness.

It makes us reflect on the obstacles to forgiveness and the paths that lead us to it. Sooner or later in your life, the question of forgiveness arises. Because sooner or later, someone hurts you in one way or another. Grudge and anger ! Here we are on familiar ground and on the road to everyday life. Grudge is a well-tended plant whose fruits of anger and vengeance are in season after season !

Grudges and anger at people, a rage to make people pay dearly for the offence they have received or the harm they have caused. I’ll never forget ! He’ll pay. Woe betide anyone who hurts our vanity, casts a shadow over our brand image, touches the assets that stick to our skin! Forgiveness is impossible ! For a fence problem, it’s tension. There’s so much resentment between parents, children, spouses, neighbours and work colleagues.

Even on the doorstep of churches, we see people who refuse to greet each other, but they sing together the Our Father that condemns them : « Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us ». Two centuries before Christ, Ben Sirach, the Wise Man (First Reading), who observed the human person at length and contemplated God at length, quickly identified three great enemies of forgiveness: resentment, anger and revenge, and reminded his readers of two profound truths that are still very relevant today.

Firstly, don’t hold in your heart all those negative feelings called hatred, resentment, desire for revenge, anger and refusal to forgive. Then, if you keep these poisons in your heart, how can you count on the forgiveness of others and how can you seek God’s forgiveness ? To all these enemies of peace within yourself and with others, Ben Sirac has only one word : « Forgive. if you want to be forgiven by your God » Forgive your neighbour the wrong he has done you; then, at your prayer, your sins will be forgiven.

Peter’s question to the Lord was as relevant and topical as ever : « When my brother does wrong to me, how often must I forgive him ? » Peter suggested a number to Jesus : « Up to seven times ? »  Jesus refused to enter into his calculations. This is the meaning of his answer : « Up to seventy times seven ! » This is Jesus’ justification for unlimited forgiveness : « You must forgive all the time ! »

 When it comes to God, we are all in the same situation as the servant who owes his master a fantastic amount of money. Out of incomprehensible love, God has forgiven us this debt. And yet¸ when we have to forgive, we hesitate and very often settle for haggling or refusal. And yet, at Mass, we sing : « Lord have mercy on us », while too often having too little mercy on others !

 God forgives with the same patience and generosity as the king Jesus speaks of in the parable. His forgiveness, however, presupposes that the lesson has borne fruit in us. It’s also up to us to understand and to have mercy, to forgive and to forgive the debts of our brothers and sisters. « Forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us ».

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Any additions you wish to make to this paper are welcome and will be published. Write it in the box below the post.


Interesting sites to see on the Internet


◊ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops →
Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Young Catholics24th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Video Forgiveness → https://youtu.be/Y2-yHv7Id6g

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