From the Pastor’s Desk
Twenty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Sept 17, 2023
“’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?’”
Brothers and Sisters,
I feel fortunate that I’ve never had to worry about where my next meal would come from or if I had a safe and comfortable place to sleep (granted, I’ve had to make a bed in some pretty uncomfortable places, like an unexpected overnight in an airport). Still, maybe our lack of exposure to poverty is why many in our society can easily detach themselves from those experiencing its impacts while employing flawed thinking like, “Perhaps they wouldn’t be poor if they worked harder or hadn’t mismanaged their resources.”
Today’s Gospel should convict us of such thinking, as Jesus uses the example of a servant who owed an enormous debt to help us find solidarity with those suffering from physical and spiritual poverty. Despite having what he owed forgiven by an exceedingly merciful master, this same servant shows no such compassion toward the one who owes him money, instead violently choking him out while demanding that he ‘Pay back what you owe,’ the equivalent of about 100 days’ wages —crippling.
Let’s stretch ourselves and ask, where have we been privileged like the ungrateful servant? When have we been forgiven by those we’ve injured or disappointed, and when have we chosen not to reciprocate such grace in kind? And more importantly still, where have we come up short in placing our relationship with the Lord first? With the National Eucharistic Revival upon us, let us be in awe of Jesus, present in the Body and Blood shared with us at Mass, an unearned and unmerited gift.
As we enter another year of faith formation, let us not only pray for all those learning about God and their faith, from the youngest students in our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd or elementary-age family faith formation programs, as well as our youth participating in our Middle School Impact, High School Encounter, and Confirmation courses, to the many adults taking advantage of formation opportunities like The Well morning retreats for women, Festival of Praise evenings, or Eucharistic-focused book studies, let us also invest our time and resources to educate and form disciples, who after experiencing the mercy of God chose to imitate that mercy joyfully. As a parish, we should aim to raise disciples who recognize the gift beyond the value given in our liturgy, people who live generously and are eager to show mercy and compassion to each other. And for any of us who feel trapped in a vicious cycle of sin. Remember, though we cannot pay our debts, like a compassionate master, God eagerly forgives!
In closing, I’d ask that you please keep the fourteen men Archbishop Lori called to orders for the diaconate in prayer. The Archbishop will ordain them, including OLPH parishioners Mike King and Manuel Aliaga, who served this past year at OLPH, on Saturday, September 30 at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. All are welcome and are encouraged to join for this celebration and thanksgiving to God for these men, as well as their wives and families (after all, formation for the diaconate is impossible without sacrifices and engagement of the spouses!).