24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The African-American spiritual we sing or hear sung on Good Friday, Were you there when they crucified my Lord, inevitably evokes within my soul, and hopefully in yours, the honest response, Yes, I was there! We were all there! While the mind, heart and body of Jesus was agonizingly absorbing the never-ending sinfulness of Satan’s domain (World-Sin), Jesus tapped the abundant love in his heart to willingly surrender his life to absolve World-Sin, past, present, and future—and model, for us the inner beauty of a forgiving heart. To contemplate the crucified Jesus and to hear the haunting strains of were you there tells us all we have to know about the Christian practice of forgiveness and reconciliation.
The gospel parable today illustrates this kind of heart. A king (God) cancels a non-repayable debt of a servant (us), who in turn, not having learned the lesson of reciprocal forgiveness, fails to extend the same courtesy to a fellow servant for a trifling debt and demands repayment. The king rescinds his absolution and demands repayment while also issuing a reminder of an aspect of God’s nature we prefer to forget with respect to ourselves. God’s payback time may be delayed to the final judgment, so it seems wise to follow the advice of Ben Sira in the first reading and not be a sinner who holds tight to his sins and suffers the Lord’s vengeance, but rather to take the gospel warning seriously: So will my heavenly Father do to you unless you each forgive your brother(s) from your heart.
Do we ever tremble, tremble, tremble when looking at the crucified Jesus, or at the consecration at Eucharist? Should we sometimes do as the song asks?
Let us Pray:
The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger and rich in compassion. For as the heavens are high above the earth so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us. Amen. (Psalm 103)
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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