TWENTY FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A
17th September 2023
Ecclesiasticus 27:33-28:9; Romans 14:7-9; Matthew 18:21-35.
Today’s readings emphasise the logic of forgiveness: we must forgive in order to be forgiven. The parable of the ‘Unforgiving Servant’ featured in the gospel passage is an example to us of how God’s mercy works. A servant was forgiven a great debt but he went out and dealt mercilessly with a fellow servant who owed him a meagre amount of money. The expectation was that he will forgive his fellow servant because a greater deal of mercy was shown to him. This logic of forgiveness is expected to make forgiveness easy for most people. The unfortunate reality is that most of us are indifferent to the feelings of others. We fail to see beyond our noses hence the difficulty to forgive others.
This indifference to the feelings of others is engineered by selfishness. We have learnt how to mindfully distance ourselves from the other’s feelings. We do not care about the consequences of our actions towards others. Each time we are offended, we forcefully demand for retribution as if the world revolves around us. We are quick to write a bad review for every little dissatisfaction of customer service. We suddenly forget that we are being served by human beings and not robots. According to Pope Francis, this indifference can become normal, silently sleeping into our lifestyles and value judgement. St Paul reminds us in the second reading that we are naturally connected to each other when he wrote: The life and death of each of us has its influence on others. Forgiveness will be easier for us when we remember the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer: forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.