Fr. Americo Santos

Homily: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 17, 2023

Our readings this Sunday teach us we must forgive those who hurt us in life and be reconciled with them. All three readings remind us of the path we need to take for forgiveness and reconciliation in order to be free and at peace with ourselves and others.

The first reading from the book of Sirach reminds his listeners that if they do not forgive and show mercy, they cannot expect to receive mercy from God in return. This reading suggests that forgiveness is wise because our life is short and our eternal destiny is determined by how we forgive and reconcile with those who mistreat us.

Paul reminds us in the second reading, we belong to Christ and by his own example in forgiving those who killed Him, taught us how we must forgive others. All of us live for Christ, in Him we are brothers and sisters, so hatred and resentment toward anyone should have no place in our hearts.  In today’s Gospel, through the parable of the two debtors, Jesus teaches us that there should be no limit to our forgiveness for others, nor should conditions be required for it. We represent the greater debtor in the parable because we commit sins and mistakes often and hence, we need God’s forgiveness constantly. Because we are sinners, we must forgive others to be forgiven by God. Jesus explains this, after teaching us the prayer of the Father, “For if you forgive other transgressions, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. (Mt 6,14)

 

Every day, we should forgive and reconcile with those who are close to us. The forgiveness we offer others is the indispensable condition that opens our hearts to love others as Jesus expects from us. We know well that forgiving our enemies is difficult, but God offers us the grace to do it. We cannot do it by ourselves. It could take a long time to be completed, but it is possible with the help of God.

It is also true that we cannot forget easily the hurt we have experienced in our lives. However, with God’s grace and praying for our offenders, we can be healed of our past. We may need time to heal our memories, but we need to be patient and trust in the mercy of God. When we feel angry or sad about a hurtful incident in our past, we must remind ourselves that God loves our offenders and died for them as He died for us. It is time to begin or continue forgiving others to be good Christians. Only people in peace can understand fully the part of The Father that says: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Mt, 6,12).

May God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you. Fr Americo Santos.