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TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, SEPTEMBER 17, 2023





Gospel

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,

"Lord, if my brother sins against me,

how often must I forgive?

As many as seven times?"

Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king

who decided to settle accounts with his servants.

When he began the accounting,

a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.

Since he had no way of paying it back,

his master ordered him to be sold,

along with his wife, his children, and all his property,

in payment of the debt.

At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,

'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.'

Moved with compassion the master of that servant

let him go and forgave him the loan.

When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants

who owed him a much smaller amount.

He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,

'Pay back what you owe.'

Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,

'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'

But he refused.

Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison

until he paid back the debt.

Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,

they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master

and reported the whole affair.

His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant!

I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.

Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,

as I had pity on you?'

Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers

until he should pay back the whole debt.

So will my heavenly Father do to you,

unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."


REFLECTION


How often must we forgive our brothers (blood or otherwise)? Apparently, seven times will not be sufficient. Seventy-seven times means that we do not keep count or score.


Seventy-seven times means this is going to be difficult no matter how much we love, especially because we love deeply.


I was not being facetious when I told someone that I had forgiven him more than seventy-seven times.


This implied generosity on my part seemed to anger him because (for all intents and purposes) he was a religious and therefore more religious than I.


He seemed to reject my gesture of goodwill.


I am happy that I truly forgave him more than seventy-seven times because I loved him beyond words and beyond forgiveness.


R.I.P., Verna.



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