Homily for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday September 13 2020
One of the mysterious things about our relationship with God is how readily and often God forgives. As often as we ask for His pardon, even more often He forgives us our sins. He makes Himself available that every instance of life in us is an opportunity to receive forgiveness from Him. Truly, forgiveness is inherently divine. But also it is humanly possible and essential to forgive those who offend us; inspired by our countless experiences of God’s forgiveness, such that far beyond seven times, we forgive even much more than seventy-seven times. May we be merciful just like our heavenly Father is merciful; Amen.
The History of Salvation is replete with ridiculous and unimaginable scenes of dissension and discord between God and the human race caused by multiple displays of human awkwardness, waywardness and sin. One thing that sustained the universe and the human species was the fact that “the Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.” On the other hand, at the human level, one of the things that have racked the greatest of destructions in history and the starting point of many inhuman treatments towards fellow men and women is the inability to forgive and be merciful towards others just as we have received forgiveness and mercy from God. Failure to forgive breeds within us resentment and anger both of which inspire destruction and disharmony. In the words of the First Reading (Ecclesiasticus 27:33-28:9), “these are foul things, and both are found with the sinner. He who exacts vengeance will experience the vengeance of the Lord, who keeps strict account of sin.” No relationship survives without the capacity to forgive. Even a healthy relationship with oneself (intrapersonal relationship), is built on the capacity to forgive oneself of failures and inadequacies. Further still, only those who can forgive can sincerely and truly enter into genuine interpersonal relationship. Forgiveness is part of the things that make us true friends; and responsible brothers and sisters in Christ. This is true also with God! All of the alliances and covenants God entered with humanity in the History of Salvation always had at the background the forgiving disposition of God. In Jesus Christ, God entered into the supreme Covenant with men and women of every age, such that in Christ, the mercy of God is made superabundant and God’s forgiving heart was made most proximate to all by the power of the Holy Spirit.
When our Lord Jesus Christ invited us to love, as the sum and summit of all the commandments of God, He was inviting us also to forgive. This is true because to love is to forgive; and to truly love is to forgive as many times as the occasion presents itself. Inability to forgive empties the Christian Life of its core elements and leads us away from the beautiful face of our Merciful Father in Heaven. Inability to forgive makes us lose contact with the merits and benefits of Christ our Saviour! When we fail to forgive, we make ourselves unreceptive to the workings of the Holy Spirit; we become strangers in the Community of God’s children and we lose the favours and flavour that accrue to us as stakeholders in the Communion of the Saints. When we fail to forgive, we close both the human and the divine doors of forgiveness against ourselves. Inability to forgive robs us of our inner joy and balance, and breeds for us the same fate of the unforgiving servant of the Gospel Reading of today (Mt 18:21-35), such that “in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.” Forgiveness codifies us to perpetually belong to God in this life and in the life to come; such that “alive or dead we belong to the Lord” (Romans 14:7-9).
As we pray God to make us compassionate and forgiving towards our brothers and sisters, like He is compassionate and forgiving towards us, I invite you to thank God specially with me for the blessing and privilege of six good years of priestly ministry in His Vineyard. Lord, I know that I am nothing without You, give me the grace to be a good priest; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE