2020-09-1324th Sunday in Ordinary TimeRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

We are living in the age of credit cards. Every week there seems to be more bills in the mail. Suppose you received a big bill in the mail and the payment is overdue. But, instead of writing a check you sit down and write a letter and you ask for an extension. Can you imagine how surprised you would be if you got a letter stating that your debt had been completely cancelled? I am sure that you would be skeptical of it all and probably ask yourself, what is the catch?

I think the answer to that question lies in today`s Gospel. Let`s take another look at that parable that Jesus tells his disciples. It is a story about a king who wants to straighten out his books with the people who owe him money. The Gospel says the first man owes the king a huge debt (actually the older translations said ten thousand talents). If we were to put that debt into modern terminology - the ten thousand talents would be worth somewhere in the vicinity of 12 million dollars. The Gospel goes on to say that the king forgave this man his debt.

But then the story goes on to say that this man had a servant who owed him a much smaller debt (about 100 denari) worth about $20. He had that servant thrown into prison until he paid back what he owed.

The merciful king represents God. The 12 million dollars represents the debt that each one of us owes to God. We owe so much to God that repayment in kind is impossible and so we plead for mercy and the debt that we owe has been forgiven in full.

To the man who received mercy in large measure but refused mercy to his fellow man, the king speaks these words: You wicked servant. I cancelled your entire debt when you pleaded with me and so you should have treated your neighbor the same way as I treated you but you did not. The story ends when he hands the unmerciful servant to the law until he pays back what he owes. Jesus draws the lesson from the story in these words. "My heavenly Father will treat you exactly the same way unless each of you forgives your neighbor from your heart."

Peter thought he was being very fair when he says to Jesus When my brother wrongs me, how often must I forgive him? Seven times? No. Jesus says, that is not even close to being enough - try seventy times seven times. In other words there is no limit to the times you must forgive. How many times have you heard it said, I will forgive you but I will never forget. In other words, I really do not want to change my relationship with the person who hurt me.

How many times have we asked God to forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Did we really mean it? We have no choice, we have to mean it if we want to be true followers of Jesus Christ.

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