“At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.” -Matthew 18:26-27
13 September 2020
- Brothers and Sisters,
May the Lord continue to strengthen each of you as you strive to live in imitation of his generous mercy.
At each Mass–and hopefully each day in our homes–we pray the words Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer. When we ask for our Lord to“Forgive us our sins…” we must not stop there, we must go deeper and recommit to a higher standard “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Here we boldly profess to forgive others who have harmed us. If left to our own power or will to forgive this generously, we will fall short. It is through the grace of God that we are empowered to do so.
As noted in the Catechism, this role of forgiveness in the Christian life is emphasized:
Thus the Lord’s words on forgiveness, the love that loves to the end, become a living reality. The parable of the merciless servant, which crowns the Lord’s teaching on ecclesial communion, ends with these words: “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” It is there, in fact, “in the depths of the heart,” that everything is bound and loosed. It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense, but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession. (§2843)
The Holy Spirit provides the opportunity to transform any injustice committed against us into an opportunity to extend forgiveness and conversion. Let us call on the Holy Spirit to aid our efforts to forgive, and let go of past pains or grudges that continue to negatively impact ourselves and our relationships.
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus places emphasis on the gift of abundant mercy. In the parable–in which the king forgave the debt that was too much to bear–Jesus provides us with an inconceivable example of mercy offered through God, the Father. The amount owed was astronomical. Even in a lifetime of work, there was no way for this servant to repay the king. Indentured servitude was practiced in the ancient Jewish and Greco-Roman worlds. Sadly, this system of “slavery or servitude” is still present today as sex trafficking, forced domestic servitude, child labor, and other modern-day forms of slavery. As Christians, we are called to create a safe space for others to encounter God and experience the peace of God’s kingdom, here and now. Our aim must remain focused on justice and dignity for all life, especially where personal freedom is not yet enjoyed.
After receiving the king’s mercy, his servant proceeds to demand repayment. When his debtor assumes the same posture and asks for mercy, he becomes aggressive for the debt of 100 denarii, equivalent to 100 days wages. As his disciples, the message for us is clear. We cannot accept God’s mercy and then promptly demand repayment from others. We are called to go BEYOND and imitate the mercy we first received from our Savior.
As absolution is offered during the sacrament of reconciliation, the words include, “Through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace.” While God forgives us and this absolution is offered on behalf of our commitment to sin no more, the effects of previous sin persists. We the Church are called to help restore right relationships, with God and with one another. We as a community must enable others to “feel” the balm of God’s mercy and grace. This is no easy task. We have to work hard to lift the burdens that hold us broken and bound and provide opportunities to experience healing and return to God with our whole heart, mind, and soul. May we all find this freedom in our days.
Some of the key considerations for this week.
▪ “Sign up” for Mass for September 19 and 20. Register here.
▪ Archbishop Lori will celebrate the Chrism Mass this Monday, September 14, at 7:30pm. The Chrism Mass is generally held on the Monday of Holy Week and it offers the priest the opportunity to renew promises made at ordination. The Archbishop will also bless the Oil of the Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick, as well as consecrate the Sacred Chrism, which is used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and holy orders of priests and bishops. Fr Rob and I request your prayers as we and our brother priests renew our vocational promises. We invite you to prayer in solidarity with us through a livestream presentation of this Mass via the Archdiocese of Baltimore website or facebook page.
▪ Please invite and encourage family members, friends, or neighbors who may be interested in learning more about the Catholic faith to our upcoming RCIA class. Our website offers the witnesses of two parishioners who have gone through RCIA in the past. Connect with Sr. Lorraine by calling the parish office, (410)747-4334 or via email at LMcGraw@archbalt.org.
▪ This past week, our nation remembered the devastating impact of September 11 on our way of life. Terrorism has no place in our world. Let us continue to work for peace and commit ourselves to helping others avoid the extremist thoughts and actions that feed terrorism. Please commit prayers and penance to the true and lasting peace that only comes from the Lord as we also pray peace and for all who gave their lives on that day and their families.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett