Homily :: September 17, 2017
09/17/17: Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
09/17/17: Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Fr Dave Reeson
(5:53, 5.39 MB)
09/17/17: Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Fr Pat Nields
(7:39, 7.01 MB)
The Scriptures for this Sunday revolve around the concepts of forgiveness, God’s great mercy and the criteria for us to receive forgiveness and reconciliation.
The Book of Sirach dates from the second century before Christ. The book was not accepted into the Hebrew Bible and as a result, the original Hebrew text was not preserved in the Jewish canon. It is a collection of ethical teachings. In the reading from Sirach, the listener is challenged to forgive the injustice meted out by a neighbor, so that when he/she prays, one’s own sin will be forgiven. Wrath and anger will keep a sinner bound in negativity. Forgiveness will allow the person to be free and open not only to God’s mercy and forgiveness, but also be a better member of society. Sirach points out that revenge is never the path for the righteous, rather forgiveness.
Paul’s letter to the Romans, written in the 50’s is a “developed theology of the gospel of justification and salvation of Jew and Greek alike by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, revealing uprightness and love of God the Father.” (J. Fitzmyer) In the short passage today, Paul reminds us that we live totally “for the Lord.” Christ came, to be both the Lord of the dead and the living. This is part of a larger segment of the epistle in which Paul outlines how we are all called and challenged to live under the grace of God, come to us in Jesus Christ.
Matthew’s Gospel presents one of the more challenging calls to forgiveness in the New Testament. This is immediately preceded by the case of how to treat an unrepentant church member. The call to forgive seventy times seven times, emphasizes the point that Christians have no right to place any limit on forgiveness. Forgive as often as it is necessary. The parable of the unjust steward reinforces the message. The actions of the king in the parable liken him to the action of God. The king demands a reckoning and shows great mercy in writing off the debt. This same servant, when confronting a fellow debtor, showed no such mercy and thus was subject to a harsh judgment. The story warns us that the forgiveness granted by God will be revoked unless we are willing to forgive others. The unforgiving person is excluded from God’s mercy. Those who wish to receive God’s mercy must show mercy toward others.
By Dale J. Sieverding © 2011, OCP. All rights reserved.