Homily Twenty-fourth Sunday Year A Forgiveness and mercy

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Homily: Twenty-fourth Sunday Year A


Reading 1: Listen to the first statement: “Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight.” Many times we have an eye for an eye mentality. We are commanded by God to forgive the sins of others, so that our own sins may be forgiven. We pray in the Our Father, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”


Anger is a spiritual cancer more deadly than any physical cancer. Hate and vengeance poison our whole system and leads to eternal death.


However, how often do we nourish anger against others, while expecting God to forgive us our sins. What is missing? Remember your last days. Remember we will face God in judgment. Remember we will die and our eternity will be determined by our actions. Refusal to forgive another tells God not to forgive us. Sometimes, we make vows that need to be broken and undone through true repentance and forgiveness.


Gospel: Unmerited mercy is a free gift, which needs to be responded to with mercy in turn. The ungrateful servant forgot this. He demanded justice, when he himself was given mercy. He refused mercy to an equal after having been graced with mercy by a higher person. In this he sealed his fate.


There is a story about a woman in hell, who complained that she should not be there, because she had done many good deeds in her life. God was merciful. He lowered a rope for her to grab on to. As she did and began to be pulled up, others in hell grabbed on to the same rope, slowing her accent. In her desperation she began to kick and push each one off the rope. It was hers. And all of a sudden the rope broke and she fell back into hell. God said: “The reason you are in hell is because when mercy was shown you, you refused mercy to others in your lifetime.”


God has been merciful to each of us. We have sinned gravely against God many times. We can never pay back our debt to God for turning away from him and embracing our sins. Yet God in his infinite mercy has chosen to forgive us. Having received and continuing to receive his mercy and forgiveness, how can we refuse to forgive another, whose sin against us cannot be compared to our sins against God?


Let the words of Jesus burn in our hearts and minds. “My Father will do to you the same, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.” It is not that you forget what the other has done, but you remember more what God has done for you. You choose not to nurture anger and un-forgiveness in your heart. Instead, you focus more on gratitude to God for his mercy.


Reading 2: Would we act any different if the reality of the Lordship of God over us was central in our thinking? Adam and Eve failed to remember that God was the source of their lives. They made themselves the beginning and the end. They were more focus on what would pleased them. They were falsely told that they would be equal to God and no longer under God.


Paul reminds us of the truth. None of lives for ourselves. If we live for the Lord and if we die, we die for the Lord. We belong to the Lord. We came from the Lord. We are destined to return to the Lord. From the time of our birth to the time of our death, we sin. Yet Jesus in his great mercy has saved us through his death and resurrection. He has reconciled us to the Father. We belong to God. We are eternally indebted to God.


Does our present life reflect this truth? To what extent is Jesus the Lord of our conscious life? He is our Lord by virtue of our creation.  We belong to him. He is our Lord by virtue of our redemption from the eternal effects of sin. We belong to him. He is our Lord because in Baptism he adopted us as his sons and daughters, sharing his own divine life with us. We belong to him. Have we embraced fully this reality? Or are we still falling for the lie of Satan, seeking to be independent of God, to be our own master?



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