Reflections for the Twenty Fourth Sunday of the Year
Sunday, 17th September 2017
SEEING YOUR LIFE THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS
- Jesus surprised Peter by telling him he needed to forgive seventy-seven times. Perhaps you have known the truth of this when something reminds you of a past hurt and you find you need in your heart to forgive again the person who hurt you. What was this like for you? How has a capacity to have a forgiving heart helped you?
- Sometimes we need to forgive ourselves for things we regret about past behaviour. What happens to you when you cannot do this? How has your ability to forgive yourself for past mistakes influenced your attitude towards yourself now?
- Are there people whose ability to forgive has inspired you? Recall them and the forgiveness they showed and give thanks for their example.
John Byrne osa
MUSINGS: The Good Seed
Just as the Son, on coming into the world and becoming man, chose people’s company to the point of joining sinners at table, so the Church has to keep the same company, because her faith, her adherence to the Lord and to the Word she receives from him, does not remove her from the world, but demands that she live in the company of men and women …
‘Company’ means wanting to reach people where they are, including in their sinfulness and their refusal of God; it means meeting people with sympathy and love, because ‘Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Rm 5:8) and ‘reconciled us to God while we were enemies’ (Rm 5:10). The importance of the word ‘while’ needs to be underlined: the presence, all at the very same time, of the world’s hatred, the enmity of sinners and the love of God is an essential part of the word of the cross. Christ has broken the logic of enmity, and so Christians live ‘company’ when they follow him in breaking down barriers, walls and borders, contradicting every day the logic that creates and perceives enemies …
The ‘company’ of others implies being patient with them, it implies longsuffering, the capacity to remain in a position of support … participating in the patience of God.
And so, Christians are precluded from every attitude … that would harden them in the logic that divides people into allies, friends and enemies.
Enzo Bianchi, Christians in Society [transl. Ed]
THE DEEP END: Generous love
A remarkable story of generosity featured on Joe Duffy’s Liveline: Call Back programme on RTÉ recently. It was the story of Shane O’Neill, who had a history of drugs offences and ended up serving time in prison in Belgium. On release from prison he went to the Irish Embassy to ask for the price of a flight to return home, but was turned down. Another Irish man, Charlie Kiernan, overheard the exchange and decided to help, booking him a flight and buying him breakfast. When Shane asked how he could repay him, Charlie suggested he ‘pay it forward’. The kind gesture was the catalyst for Shane turning his life around.
It is this sort of generous love that we hear about in today’s gospel, in the parable told by Jesus. The master who cancels the servant’s debt does so out of compassion and generosity. It is of no benefit to him to pardon the debt. He will be down ten thousand talents – one talent was worth more than 15 years’ wages of a labourer, so we are talking about a large sum of money! The servant is grateful, but not so grateful that he is willing to take pity on a fellow servant who owes him just one hundred denarii – one denarius was the usual day’s wage for a labourer.
The parable speaks to us about the kindness of God, but also what he expects from us. Because we have been loved, we must love. Because we have been forgiven, we must forgive.
Tríona Doherty Athlone, Co Roscommon