Sunday, September 13th 2020 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin
This weekend we celebrate the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, and the readings from the Liturgy calls us to look inward to the condition of our hearts, our thoughts, and our emotions.
The first reading is from Sirach and addresses the complicated emotion of anger. “Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?” We have all been wounded by others at some point, some perhaps quite deeply. Our emotions are gifts from God. But we must act responsibly with them as well, rather than allowing them to take control of us. We can see how people who are emotionally out of control can be destructive in harming other people and property, as portrayed on the evening news.
How do we do this? Sirach tells us. “Remember your last days, set enmity aside… Remember the Most High’s covenant and overlook faults.” We are invited to embrace the mind of Christ — not brooding over hurts but recalling all the gifts our good God has given us, all the love He continually pours out upon us, and we put our focus and trust in Him.
Saint Paul reminds us in the second reading from his letter to the Romans, “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord and if we die, we die for the Lord.” We Christians believe that whether we live or die “we are the Lord’s.”
In our Gospel passage from Matthew, Jesus reminds us of the true position we have before Him in light of all that He has done for us, comparing the kingdom of heaven to a “king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.” In the parable, a debtor is brought before the king, owing such an overwhelming debt that it could not possibly be repaid. Yet, the king is filled with compassion for the servant, forgives the debt and lets him go free.
Doesn’t that sound like each of us in relation to the King of Kings? The Father has given us life, and then sent His only Son to die for us to free us from our sin “debts” and make eternal life with Him possible for us. It is impossible for us to repay this debt. All we can do is thank God by giving Him the gift of our whole selves — inside and out.
In this present time, so many have fallen into bad habits and put their relationship with God on the back burner. Today is a new opportunity to start over, to start fresh, to invite Jesus into our hears and reign over all aspects of our lives. As Saint Paul stated, “whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”