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September 15th, 2002
Catholic Homilies
September 15th, 2002

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24th Sunday in Ordinary Time Mt 18:21-35


The important point in this story is not that the servant earned forgiveness but rather his master granted it spontaneously despite the servant's unworthiness and then the servant refused to reflect the master's generosity in dealing with his fellow servant. When we forgive others who have hurt us we don't do it to earn forgiveness from God but to manifest God's implacably forgiving love. One cannot earn what is already there but one can reveal it to others. In fact, the master in this story is God. He forgives simply, generously, and with no strings attached because it is in his nature to do so. We are already forgiven and indeed from all eternity. All we have to do is to accept forgiveness and reveal it to others.

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Once upon a time a certain man was running for political office. He wanted to in so badly he would stop at nothing to defeat the incumbent. So he indulged in extremely negative campaigning. He told his staff to pull quotes out of context, make innuendos about his opponent's personal life, spread false rumors about him, leak incriminating stories to the media, attack his record, pry into the private lives of his children, anything, absolutely anything to turn the public against him. Well, it almost worked. The incumbent's plurality went down sharply but he was still reelected. The challenger would not concede. Instead he launched a vitriolic attack on the character of his opponent and his family. He defamed you, said a lawyer. Sue the so and so. Will you sue him? The TV reporter asked him. No, said the victor. I understand how he feels. I lost my first try. Does that mean you forgive him? It doesn't do any good not to forgive.

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Does that mean you forgive him? It doesn't do any good not to forgive

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