The Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

In this Sunday's Gospel, Matthew 18: 21-35, Jesus teaches us to forgive without limit. Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I for- give? As many as seven times?” (Matthew 18: 21)

It could be in Peter’s mind that he was being generous offering to forgive seven times. And he hoped that Jesus would be agree with him. But the answer from Jesus was totally different. “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:22) In other words, there is no limit in forgiveness.

To explain this matter, Jesus tells the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18: 23- 34) – the story of a servant who owed his master a huge amount. Knowing that the servant has no way to pay the debt, with compassion, the master forgave him the loan and let him go. However, this servant treated his fellow servant so badly. His fellow servant owed him a very small amount comparing to the amount he owned his master. Even though he knew that his fellow servant could not pay the debt at that moment but he insisted to payment. He put his fellow servant in prison until he paid back the debt.

The whole affair was brought to the master. His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?' Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.” (Matthew 18:32-34)

Through the parable, Jesus’ teaching about forgiveness was very clear. Forgive and you be for- given. Indeed, oftentimes we treat others so hardly and badly. We want others to treat us easily but we on the other hand do not want to treat others that way. Clearly, this act is opposite of what true charity demands.

Let us all heed and take the teaching of our Lord into our own life. Let us all try our best to go beyond ourselves. Let us all be generous with each other as God has been so generous with each of us. We are to forgive as God forgives. We forgive others seven times seventy times be- cause we treasure the unending mercy that God has shown us.

Fr. Phi Nguyen

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