24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
It’s difficult to see how anyone could make any objection to the teaching in Our Lord’s parable today. If we won’t forgive those who ask us for forgiveness then we can’t expect others to forgive us.
Our Lord adds that we can’t expect God to forgive us either. It’s the same teaching in the first reading from Ecclesiasticus: ‘If a man nurses anger against another can he then demand compassion from the Lord?”.
At the heart of Christian forgiveness is love. And that love is the acknowledgement that everything I have and am is a gift. For the Christian everything I have even my very existence is a gift from God. More than that, as a Christian, as someone who is baptised, I am in debt to the one who saved me, to the one who on the cross, paid my debt. And such is the love at the heart of that payment that I become not just a saved debtor but one who Jesus, through baptism and the sacraments, makes a sharer in his divine life and love. Through baptism what we are is people who love with Christ and thus receive with Christ the fullness of the Father’s love and the outpouring of God the Holy Spirit. If by not forgiving we stop living the love of Christ then we are not able to receive the loving forgiveness of the Father and the Spirit.
The most wonderful sign of this sharing in love with the one who loves us is the gift of the Eucharist. In holy communion Jesus gives himself to us. He gives himself to us as one loves us, forgives us, opens the way to heaven for us and cares for us, guides us and protects us on the journey and offers to lift us up when we fall.
If only we fully recognised the love at the heart of Holy Communion.
We pray for the children who at the end of mass will receive this gift of Our Lord for the first time.