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Theology for the common man

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, A

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Old Testament wisdom asks us to count in our life on the Mercy of God manifested in forgiveness of our sins and in showing from our part the merciful attitude toward others. This teaching is still actual in our time, as Jesus confirms it very precisely in his preaching with a new spirit of love. Jesus enlightens it by his parable about two debtors: one, who has experienced the mercy from a king by in-commensurable forgiveness of his debts; and the second already pardoned from his debts by the king but now showing no mercy toward his subordinate fellow. Behind the king is God himself showing his mercy to every sinner-debtor; a debtor is each of us who very often is not able to forgive others. The lack of forgiveness from our part stops us to show a true love and brings us closer to an imprisoned hell. All this logic confirms Jesus at the end of his parable: “So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.” And we have to understand that it is about the attitude, or of a constant readiness to forgive, so this brother could have a constant chance to find a way to God; this is what Jesus says about the forgiveness not only 7 times (which in the Old Testament language means “always”), but 77 times (which in the New Testament language means “always,” because it has the eternal consequence). Someone could tell he is not able to forgive that way; then we have to follow with the argument of Sirach, from the first reading today: “Remember your last days, set enmity aside; remember, think of the commandments (…) and overlook faults.” Sirach wants to tell us that from the point of view of a death and disintegration of the body, which awaits everyone, fault goes way to a further plan and it is not worthy to make it the main control of our lives which ends so fast. Jesus himself shows us an eternal consequence of our human wrongheaded attitude and gives us a grace which enables us to forgive others in the spirit of love. Let the prayer of “Our Father” remind us always about this duty of forgiveness.