September 17, 2017

24th Sun., Ordinary Time

September 17, 2017:  Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • 'Scroll' pin:  Think of the commandments (1st reading)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  "How many time times must I forgive?"; king settling accounts (gospel)
  • 'Money' tie:  Size of debts to king (gospel)
  • 'Heart' pin:  Forgive from the heart (1st reading, gospel)
  • 'Boundless mercy' pin from Congress:  Forgiveness, mercy (all readings)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

    • Look it up/ Presley, Orrall:  country song with verse about how hard it is for us to forgive ("forgiveness...  It's what Jesus has in store for you, but I don't...") This cover avoids the original's bad language.  Lyrics+ (gospel)
For Psalm 103
For next Sunday
Pope Francis
Angelus:  Forgiveness doesn't deny the injustice you've been subjected to but acknowledges that the human being, created in God's image, is superior to that wrong.  Christians are called always to show forgiveness.  From our baptism day, God has forgiven us, and he forgives our sins as soon as we show the smallest sign of repentance.  If you've experienced the joy, peace, and freedom of forgiveness, you can open yourself to the possibility of forgiving:  "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."  God’s forgiveness is a sign of his overflowing love for each of us, love that gives us freedom to stray but awaits our return with open arms; it's the love of the shepherd looking for the lost sheep, the tenderness that welcomes each sinner who knocks.  The Lord is full of love and wants to offer it to us, but he can't if we close our hearts to loving others.
To Sacred Heart Missionaries:  Your Chapter's motto is “You have kept the good wine until now.”  By listening to the Spirit and being open to today's questions and concerns, you'll discover renewed strength and creative expressions of your mission.  The changed situation of our world with respect to the past, and the new challenges it presents to the Church’s mission of evangelization, demand and give rise to new ways of offering the “good wine” of the Gospel to many people as a source of joy and hope.
You strive to foster devotion to Jesus' Sacred Heart and make it bear fruit through witnessing to Jesus' tender and merciful love for all, especially those in greatest need.  Return to Jesus Christ, your first love, and learn from him how to love, care for the lost and hurting, work for justice, show solidarity with the weak and the poor, give hope and dignity to the destitute, and go where people are in need.  The Church sends you out as missionaries to show God's passionate and tender love for the little ones, the underprivileged, the vulnerable, and the discarded. 
Educate and assist new generations to appropriate human values and cultivate an evangelical vision of life and history.  Mark your common life by true fraternity.  Welcome diversity, and value the gifts of all.
To entertainers:  Your vocation is Joy.  If we go back to your shows' origins, we find someone passionate about this kind of show, who felt a joyful vocation and was willing to make sacrifices.  Faith enlightens your path, faith you live especially in the family, animated by trust in providence.  Draw close to the sacraments and make time for prayer.  You're artisans of festivities, wonder, and beauty, called to nourish feelings of hope and trust.  Your vocation is to offer people healthy, clean fun.  How could God's hand not be there?
    Forgive from the heart
  • Si 27:30—28:7  Wrath and anger are hateful.  The vengeful will suffer the Lord's vengeance.  Forgive your neighbor's injustice; then your sins will be forgiven.  Remember your last days, set enmity aside, and cease from sin!  Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor; remember the covenant, and overlook faults.

  • Ps 103:1-4, 9-12  "The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion."  He doesn't deal with us according to our sins; he's put our transgressions far from us.

  • Rom 14:7-9  We live and die for the Lord, not ourselves.  We are the Lord's.  Christ died and came to life to be Lord of the dead and the living.

  • Mt 18:21-35  "Forgive seventy-seven times.  A king settling accounts with his servants forgave the loan of a debtor owing a huge amount who begged for patience, but then the servant throttled a fellow servant who owed much less, refused his plea, and imprisoned him.  His master, told about it, had him tortured.  Forgive from the heart!"
    Parable of the wicked servant/ Fetti
  • Creighton:  Today’s readings about mercy and forgiveness also caution us that bad disposition toward others threatens our blessedness.  Wrath, anger, and vengeance are destructive.  We can blame others wrongly.  We must guard against the wrong disposition even in the face of injustice.  This is hard when we still sting from our wounds, but the readings tell us how:  "Remember your last days, death, and decay."  This contextualizes the importance of what we accumulate in light of who we're becoming.  Suffering from injustice beats doing injustice.  “Don’t stumble on things that are behind you” (Seneca):  if we can't avoid hardship, make it work.  “Think of the commandment, remember the covenant, and overlook faults.”  We fall short.  "The dividing line between good and evil runs inside our heart" (Solzhenitsyn).  Caution, respect, and charity should govern our assessments.  Today’s gospel reinforces our need for mercy, but the forgiven debtor, not understanding the love shown him, continued to oppress, not transformed in time to prevent a bad outcome.  May we move toward forgiveness and away from anger and bitterness.  Ask for that miracle, heed today's examples, pray for one another, and see mercy.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "False forgiveness":  Many Christians don't forgive because they'vs been deceived into thinking they've already forgiven; this results in being tortured and not forgiven.  One of the best indicators of false forgiveness is anger.  Sirach teaches "wrath and anger are hateful," and anger keeps us from being healed.  Anger in any area may signal unforgiveness toward someone.  Another indication is not being aware that's it's impossible for people to forgive.  "To err is human; to forgive is divine."  We'll never break our hold on anger and unforgiveness on our own, but by God's power we can forgive anyone for anything.  Holy Spirit, show me the false forgiveness in my life, and pour your love into me so I may forgive.
    The parable of the unmerciful servant/ van Hemessen
  • Passionist:  "Forgiveness Sunday":  The 1st reading proclaims the contradiction between expecting forgiveness while withholding it.  The 2nd reading reminds us that we live only because of the God's freely given mercy.  The gospel parable emphasizes the fate awaiting one who won't forgive others.  We should forgive freely because we know God's mercy to us, but we still find it hard and risky.  We must be willing to move beyond justifiable anger, hurt, and resentment we feel when someone treats us unfairly, and we can never be sure forgiveness will repair a damaged relationship. What if our forgiveness is refused, or the person doesn't show remorse, accept responsibility, or change?  But nothing could be more self-destructive or hopeless. What's the alternative?  Do we want our lives defined by anger, hurt, and bitterness?  Forgiveness is a matter of life and death. “Not forgiving is as unnatural and inhuman as not breathing" (Stuhlmueller).
  •  "How often shall I forgive my brother?"  Since Amos spoke of God forgiving three times but warned God may not revoke punishment the fourth, when Peter asked Jesus "how often:  7 times?," he likely thought he was being generous, so Jesus' answer and parable must have startled him.  No offense done to us can compare with our own debt to God, forgiven through Christ.  We owe God gratitude for such mercy.  We must show mercy towards all who offend us; we must be willing to let go of any resentment, grievance, or ill will.  Jesus teaches us to pray that we may forgive others as God has forgiven us.  "Judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy."
Without mercy justice is cold, calculating, even cruel.  Mercy follows and perfects justice.  Justice demands that the wrong be addressed.  Mercy and pardon without addressing the wrong is license, not true mercy.  "Mercy will flower only when it grows in the crannies of the rock of Justice" (C. S. Lewis).  Lord, purify my heart that I may show mercy to all, especially those who cause me grief....

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