Fr. Rick’s Two Minute Homily 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 17, 2023 Matthew 18:21-35
How Grateful Am I?
When I read this gospel of the ungrateful servant, I was flooded with the many blessings I have received throughout my life. I couldn’t begin to count them. God blesses all of us with his gift of creation that He sustains every minute of every day. But a few memories that touched my heart the most came to mind.
Watching my Dad, a carpenter, get ready for church with his suit and tie told me something special was about to happen. Seeing my Mom and Dad genuflect and kneel down before Mass began told me they loved God and were grateful for their time with Him. I can see my Dad walking into the confessional and my Mom saying her Rosary before Mass began.
Tremendous gratitude filled my heart to know how much my Mom and Dad influenced my life and faith. God used their relationship with Him to plant the seed for my vocation. They weren’t even aware how their example affected me.
The man in the gospel owed his master 449 years of labor. It was something he could never pay back. His ingratitude led him to throttle and imprison a fellow servant for a minuscule amount he was owed. Because he didn’t have a relationship with his master, he didn’t know the value of his master’s mercy.
God gave us His Son, whose imprisonment on the cross paid back hundreds of times more than the debt of all our sins. Every Confession and Mass we celebrate is an opportunity to thank Jesus for making up for our lack of mercy toward each other.
In 1945, as the Nazi regime neared defeat, tens of thousands of women and children imprisoned in the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp were either slaughtered outright or forced on a death march where an estimated 40,000 more perished. The following prayer was found on a note near the body of a slain child.
"O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted on us, remember the fruits we have bought, because of this suffering—our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown out of all of this, and when they come to judgment, let all the fruits we have borne be their forgiveness."
—Prayer written by an unknown prisoner in Ravensbrück concentration camp [Oxford Book of Prayer]
Forgiveness may be the most challenging work of Christians, but it comes with the greatest reward: the peace of Christ. Those who have suffered the most are often our greatest teachers in the practice of forgiveness.
Patrice J. Tuohy
Prepare the Word
September 17, 2023
IGNITE THE FIRE!
Fr. Rick Pilger, IC