A Good Word - from Fr. Greg Jakubowicz, OFM 9/17/2023
Jesus' parable of the unforgiving debtor in this Sunday’s Gospel calls each of us to a change of perspective and an openness of heart. It challenges you and I to begin to realize our own imperfections and failures so as to avoid judging and condemning others. This parable also can help you and I to remember that all of us are “debtors” when we stand before God and all of us are in need of God's healing and forgiveness.
It should upset you and me that the servant’s cruel treatment of his fellow servant was right after he, who also was once indebted, had been generously forgiven. He didn’t deserve forgiveness, but his master generously gave it to him, but he would not do likewise to one indebted to him.
A commentator pointed out that when you and I forgive others who have hurt us we don’t do it to earn forgiveness from God, but rather to make real God’s relentlessly forgiving love.
You and I want to be the recipients of forgiveness and mercy, and it feels awesome when someone offers us that release, that mercy, that kindness – but, how easy is it for you and me to make the first move and to offer that forgiveness and mercy to someone who has wronged us?
It is embarrassing for me to hear this parable and to know there are those in my life that I have not forgiven. I wish I could easily forgive those who have badly hurt me. The scars that they have left, however, are all too present and visible to me.
Sure, I can easily forgive most transgressions against me from others. But for a few, the hurt is too deep. And, to be honest, before I can forgive those who badly hurt me I want some sort of an apology.
But I know, from this Scripture, and from our Catholic tradition, that that is not how God operates or how Jesus asks me to act.
God is always ready to forgive whether the sinner asks for forgiveness or not.
Jesus Christ calls all those who wish to follow him to be ready to forgive one another as God forgives us, to seek out and lift up others as God seeks us out and lifts us up, to share the compassion and generosity that God gives totally and unconditionally to you and me through Jesus Christ.
Please remember, as Pope Francis points out, you and I don’t have to be perfect. We most likely never will be perfect this side of the grave. But you and I can try to be like Christ. We can try to forgive, realizing that with some people it will take time for us to forgive them.
However, if we want to be disciples of Christ, then you and I have to start trying to forgive, to try to be more merciful. Any effort at trying is good. You and I cannot ever give up in trying to be more Christ-like.
You and I cannot let the unfortunate setbacks at being Christ-like change our course. For it is our faith in Jesus Christ that can and does help us to change our perspective and help us to open our hearts to not only accept God’s forgiveness, love, and mercy, but to not be like that ungrateful debtor. Instead, you and I are to do to others as has been done to us, to forgive, to love, and to offer mercy as you and I have been forgiven and loved. And we can do it through the Grace of God.
As always, if there is anything we can do for you at UB Catholic campus ministry, please let me know. We are here for you.
May God bless you with Peace and All Good.