HOMILY FOR 24th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A), SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

HOMILY FOR 24th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A), SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

Sirach 27:30-28:7; Ps. 103; Rom.14:7-9; Matthew 18:21-35

**We thank God for the grace of a new week. It is good to begin our day with the Lord. Witnessline presents us with homilies from different Priests for our reflection and further insight on the Word of God.  This Sunday we have five sets of homily notes. Please scroll down the page.**

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Fr. Thomas Oyode:     Forgiveness: A Supernatural Gift
Fr. Evaristus Okeke: 
  Called to be Ambassadors of Divine Mercy
Fr. Paul Oredipe:         
Forgive as God forgives
Fr Galadima Bitrus, OSA:
The Platinum Rule? Forgive Others as You Would Want God to Forgive You

Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai: Forgiveness is our Business  

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Fr. Thomas Oyode

Forgiveness: A Supernatural Gift

Today’s readings lead us to reflect on the marvellous mercy of God and our Christian duty to forgive. The readings indicate that we receive undeserved forgiveness from God and we are obliged, as a matter of Christian duty, to forgive. Also, it is clear from the gospel that forgiveness is act that is almost impossible to realise in practice. We would more easily ask to be forgiven than to be ready to forgive. One may think of our natural proclivity to selfishness, self preservation and the influence of our ego and passions as factors that hinder our readiness to forgive hurts. On this note, the words of St. Paul in the second reading are instructive., none of us live for himself, whether we live or die, we live for the Lord. In other words, one of the qualities that reveal our christian maturity is our desire to deny ourselves, let go of our selfishness and promote the good of others, and to give glory to God.

In the gospel reading, Jesus usesthe parable of the unforgiving servant as a response to Peter’s perplexity about the extent to which we can tolerate wrongs. Now, this parable does not underplay the reality of wrongs and hurt in human relationships. Also the parable is more about the unforgiving servant than about the forgiving king. With this in mind, it is important to pay attention to the way the teaching of the parable is related by the Lord to his disciples.

It can be said that the parable has a comparative approach. This means that Jesus presents the attitude of the unforgiving servant against the template of the forgiving king. The King’s action becomes the yardstick for evaluating the servant’s. We are told that the servant owed the king a huge sum of amount. Some commentators say that this amount is worth ten(10)thousand talents. One talent is a high measure of weight depending on the metal with which it was made. Just like most of our coins today, it could be made of gold, silver or copper or other metal. Also a single talent is worth fifteen (15) years of wage. It therefore means that the king was owed an average wage of about one hundred and fifty (150) years for an average worker. It also means that the servant would not have been able to pay. Thus if he had not been forgiven, and his debt cancelled, he and his family would have languished in prison till death.

On the other side of the pendulum, this servant whose debt has been cancelled was owed a small amount. This is also estimated to be one hundred (100) denarii. A denarius is a day’s wage for an average worker at the time. 100 denarii is thus a hundred day’s wage. Now this is also a huge debt. If I depend on my daily wwage  to take care of myself and my family, it means that for one hundred days you have deprived us of adequate and dignified living by the debt you owe me.

It is precisely for this reason that the comparative approach makes sense. Compared with withwhat had  been cancelled, it would have been very thoughtful for the servant to go on with life, bearing in mind that had he not been forgiven, he would not havebeen alive to demand for his debt. In this way, we begin to reason that but for the mercies and faithfulness of God we would have no capacity to hold claim to anything in this life. We live because God has willed it to be so irrespective of our merits. This is a call to gratitude. The hurts and wrongs that we suffer can then be seen with an eye of faith and gratitude: “since God forgives me this much who am I not to forgive?”.We can also see from this perspective that actually we are deeply hurt by the wrongs of our fellow ones, a huge debt which becomes small when placed side-by-side with our debts against God.

Secondly, the parable is relational in approach. We can only enjoy the grace and gift of God’s forgiveness in relation to how much we have forgiven those who hurt us. In the parable we are told that the king was moved with compassion. In many parts of the Old Testament as much as in the New Testament, God is presented as a Father who is eternally full of compassion, mercy and love. It can be said therefore, that we can be always certain of God’s readiness to cancel our debts but we may not enjoy this grace for long if we do not dispose our hearts to forgiving those who owe us, those who offend and hurt us. This is what we mean when,in the Lord’s Prayer, we say, “forgive us our trespassesas we forgive those who trespass against us”. Today’s first reading is very clear on this point.

Finally, forgiveness is a gift, forgiveness is supernatural and precious. The parable makes it clear that he who forgives has given out something very precious and priceless. Imagine giving out your three month salary to another person who has not done anything to deserve it. Imagine the your Landlord/Landlady exempting you from paying house rent for one hundred and fifty (150) years. These are not easy to come by. It is almost impossible to conceive. Thus, it is not easy to forgive. It takes the grace of God, an action of the Spirit of God to be able to forgive. Consequently, the one who forgives acts like God, he imitates the action of God, he dignifies and ennobles himself. The one who forgives also opens himself to the grace of God’s forgiveness and peace. The one who forgives shows that he is grateful to have been forgiven by God.

Here are some practical considerations for practicing the act of forgiveness. It is important that we first desire to forgive. It may take so long to forgive but never close your mind to the possibility of forgiveness by being unwilling or reluctant to forgive. Offer it to God in silent prayers by sincerely expressing your hurt to God. Let God know how much of the pain you feel, then ask him to give you the grace not only to desire to forgive but to actually forgive, preferably before the Blessed Sacrament. Then take practical steps to showing to your fellow that you have actually forgiven him/her and moved on. These steps are not a one-day activity. It is whole process of healing that comes with time. Let patience then be the guide.

May our Lady Help of Christians teach us how to love and help one another. Amen.

Fr. Evaristus  Okeke
Called to be Ambassadors of Divine Mercy
In the first reading, we read: Forgive your neighbour the wrong he has done and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray . In the gospel reading, we read: so also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive from your heart . On the literally level, both quotations give the impression that if a man does not forgive his neigbhour, God will not forgive him/her either. In as much as the intention is to urge man to imbibe the Christian attitude of forgiveness, it cannot be the case that the forgiveness of God rests on the forgiveness of man. That would mean that man’s perfection is the motivation for God’s goodness. Divine action is dependent on nothing else but on God himself. Therefore, the dispersion of the Grace of God cannot rest on the perfection of man; if it were so, God will never be gracious to man because man is not perfect.
The liturgy of today is rather presenting us with the forgiveness of God as the model for man. To learn how to forgive is something that is done from within. In saving us, God reconciled us to Himself through his Son. Even after that, he continues to forgive us our trespasses and does not treat us according to our faults. He does not bless us or answer our prayers on the condition that we are perfect. He does not condemn us when we sin deliberately or when we approach the confessional without a firm purpose of amendment. He is not afraid that we take his mercy for granted. He forgives us still.
God’s mercy is perfect and so worthy of emulation. The art of forgiving others begins from understanding and appreciating the forgiveness we have received from God. In the gospel reading, the servant whose master forgave him ten thousand talents, did not understand what the master did for him. This servant represents us at those times when we go for confession without regret for our sins; in fact, with plans to commit them again. Such attitude deprives us from experiencing the joy of forgiveness. Confession becomes for us a mere ritual exercise devoid of spirituality. Little wonder in the parable of today, nothing was said about the servant leaving the master’s presence with joy. For this servant, he was tactic enough to have emotionally blackmailed his master into forgiving him. He must have left the master’s presence saying to himself: “ _I’m a sharp guy”._ 
Because he did not experience the joy of forgiveness, it was totally impossible for him to share it with another servant who owned him a far lesser amount. You cannot give what you do not have. Even when his fellow servant begged him for more time to pay the debt, this unforgiving servant refused probably because he saw this fellow servant’s appeal as an attempt to emotionally deceive him as he had done to his master. For this unforgiving servant, he was a hero; the one who has deceived another but could not be deceived.
Since this unforgiving servant did not appreciate the forgiveness of his master, it therefore means he never really saw himself as indebted to the master. His delay in paying back his master may not be because he was not having the money to pay back but because he thought that in one way or the other, he would escape paying the debt. This could have made him to also perceive his fellow servant as having the money but not willing to pay back. If not, how did he expect the fellow servant to pay him from prison?
The point here is this: for us to be able to forgive like God himself, we must acknowledge our sins against God, so that we are able to appreciate the forgiveness of God towards us. A Christian who cannot sincerely say “ _through my fault, through my most grievous fault_ ”, will not find any reason to sing: “ _thank you for saving me, thank you my Lord”_ . Therefore, the key to forgiving others is possessing the spirit of humility and gratitude. You cannot forgive seventy times seven if you do not sincerely approach the confessional seventy times seven times. The mercy that God wants us to show to others is the mercy that we have received from him. That explains the statement: “You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?”
So, underneath the clarion call to forgive others, today’s liturgy invites us to acknowledge our sins and seek God’s forgiveness. That is not to say we have to intentionally commit sin so that through God’s mercy upon us, we will learn to forgive others.
In the second reading, St. Paul tells us that no man can be an island. We risk becoming islands when we harbor hatred for others in our hearts. Gradually, we will be drifting away from those who have offended us. Everyone cannot be like us; to be different is not a crime but a spice. Therefore, we need to be understanding and accommodating so that we can harvest the spice of life inherent in varieties. Forgiveness restores our inner peace. Forgiveness is a way of handing over our battles and hurts to God for healing, restoration and justice. Those who leave everything in God’s hands, end up seeing God’s hands in everything.
Unforgiveness seeks retaliation. God has not commanded us to fight one another but to love one another. To repay evil with good is what it means to become another Christ. God Bless You!
Fr. Paul Oredipe
FORGIVE AS GOD FORGIVES 
The liturgy of last Sunday focused on fraternal love and the mutual obligation we have toward one another.  It encouraged a healthy relationship.  This important lesson of healthy relationship continues this Sunday.  Since we are not angels but mere mortals yet to be perfected, naturally hurting others is bound to happen anywhere human beings find themselves.  We cannot but step on one another’s toes.  This even happened among the disciples of Christ (cf. Acts 6:1ff; Mt 20:24ff).  But to live a healthy relationship despite our differences, we must let go, we must forgive one another.  
 This is what the liturgy of today is all about.  We can only be good Christians if we are ready to forgive others and let go.  
All the readings of today are talking about forgiveness.  In the first reading, we are strongly warned against the danger and consequences of harbouring bad feelings to those who wronged us in the past, and in this hard words Sirach says: “Anger and wrath, these also are abominations…  He that takes vengeance will suffer vengeance from the Lord… Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray.  Does a man harbor anger against another, and yet seek for healing from the Lord?” 
In the second reading, St. Paul brings to our attention of our connectedness, and without mincing words he states: “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.  If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord.”  What each of us does affect others directly or indirectly.  Therefore, we have an obligation to live in peace with one another. 
 In the Gospel, our Lord teaches the disciples how necessary it is to be ever ready to forgive their fellowmen.  Peter, always the spokesman of the group, asks if seven times would be enough to forgive one’s offender.  But Christ tells him seventy times seven.  Here our Lord indicates times without number when He uses this figure.  Meaning that there is no limit to forgiveness.  Christ then tells a parable to make it clear that if we want God to forgive us, we must forgive others.  
In this parable of Christ, we see a servant who received pardon for a huge offence, but failed to grant pardon to a small offender.  The position of this servant was absolutely hopeless.  He owed the king so much money that even if he worked forever, he would not be able to repay the king.  This is our situation before God.  The king in this parable is God whose mercy is immeasurable and immensely greater than our own. 
This greatness of God’s mercy and forgiveness is also emphasized in today’s responsorial Psalm.  We too, as God’s children, must be willing to extend to others the generous forgiveness God has extended to us.  The forgiveness we expect from God hinges around our ability to forgive our fellow brothers and sisters each time they offend us.  Therefore, we lose God’s forgiveness and mercy by hoarding the same forgiveness we owe others.  
 Surely, forgiveness is one of the most difficult and radical teaching of Christ.  It may be hard for the human heart to forgive, especially when we are hurt by someone we love so much.  And it is even harder still when the offender is not remorseful.  Here Jesus Christ should be our model.  He did not wait for His executioners to apologize before He forgave them.  We too should not wait for apology before we let go.  When we find it difficult to forgive others, we should turn to Jesus for the help we need to do this. 
In the same vein, it is good we know that forgiveness does not mean forgetting.  As humans, ‘forgive and forget’ may not be possible since we are not having ‘loss of memory’.  But as Christians, even when we remember we should let go like Christ.  
When a person rejects God’s healing grace, he is committing spiritual suicide.  When a person seeks revenge rather than healing, he is committing spiritual suicide.  When a victim abandons his or her faith because he or she has suffered at the hands of an abuser who was mentally sick, such a victim commits spiritual suicide.  When a victim seeks monetary compensation from the perpetrator or his or her employer, such a victim is committing spiritual suicide.  Spiritual suicide is a rejection of God’s holy way of forgiving. 
           “Being unable to forgive is the greatest obstacle to holiness.” 
The Old Testament injunction of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” was not meant to demand vengeance, but to put a limit, to avoid excesses in vengeance.  For losing a tooth, you cannot knock off all the teeth of your enemy – only one may be allowed. 
Why do we find it hard to forgive others even though that is the only way to anchor God’s forgiveness?  I think the reason is because we fail to appreciate and celebrate our own forgiveness.  If we find ourselves in the club of those who find it so hard to forgive other people, chances are that we have not come to appreciate and celebrate enough the immeasurable forgiveness that we ourselves have received from God.  We need to pray today for a deeper appreciation of the amazing love that God has shown us in Christ.  It is this awareness that will make it easier for us to let others off the hook for their relatively minor offences against us. 
Though forgiveness is not easy, yet it is necessary.  It is for our good that God is commanding us to forgive.  The following are some of the benefits of forgiveness.  
Forgiveness is first and foremost a healing of our own hearts.  Not to forgive has self-defeating and self-destructive tendencies.  When we refuse to forgive, we dry up inside and never have peace of mind.  When we harbour grudges and refuse to forgive those who offended us, we are giving our so called enemies power over us, over our sleep, our appetite, our blood pleasure, our health, and our happiness.  Our unforgiving spirit is not hurting them, but hurting and destroying ourselves.  But when we forgive, we get rid of the burden of bitterness and resentment and we experience a sense of freedom and relief.  
Forgiveness also works wonders for the person who is forgiven.  The person is set free to walk in friendship with God and with the person he or she has offended.  
Forgiveness also clears a path for God to forgive us.  The only obstacle we can put in the way of God’s forgiveness of our sins is our inability to forgive others.  Each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we say, ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’  By this statement we are asking God to forgive our sins in the measure we forgive the sins of others.  So, people who cannot forgive break down the bridge over which they themselves must pass.  
Also, inability to forgive others serves as an obstacle to our prayers.  The word of God even recommends that we should settle a case with our neighbour before we bring our offering.  It is only then our offering can be acceptable before God.  Therefore, forgiveness is a key to answer prayer and God’s miracle, and unforgiveness is an obstacle to our prayer and worship.  
Forgiveness also heals the relationship.  It is absolutely necessary, in particular for people who are close to one another: for husband and wives, parents and children, and among friends and families. 
Finally and most importantly, one’s eternal destiny is at stake if one’s heart is harden and refuses to forgive.  The final statement of Jesus in today’s Gospel is a warning directed to us.  “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”  This will be the fate of all unforgiving Christians.  They will meet an unforgiving God when they are called to settle their accounts on the last day. 
Do we have any grudges against anyone?  Is there someone we think does not deserve our forgiveness?  We must be aware of how much we are debtors to God, first of all, for our creation and also for our redemption.  And also our own offences against God should make us humble enough to be ready to forgive any offence committed against us.  
And the best way and place to celebrate that forgiveness is in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is, above all, a sign of God’s mercy and love.  We can come to Him in the sacrament with absolute certainty, secure in His promises.  If we simply pray on our own, can we really be certain that God has heard and answered our prayer and that we have been forgiven for our sins?  Are we not left with even a small degree of doubt and uncertainty?  After all, it is we who are making the prayer, and we who are trying to discern God’s answer. 
But in the Sacrament, God promises to be present.  He promises the power of His Holy Spirit.  We can be absolutely certain that He has forgiven all the sins that we have confessed.  We know that we will also have committed minor sins that we did not realize, or that we have forgotten in the meantime; no matter, as long as we are sorry for them too, they are also forgiven.  It is only if we have committed a serious sin and deliberately keep quiet about it that it remains unforgiven.  Indeed in these circumstances, we commit a further sin by making a deliberately bad confession. 
But if we make a good confession, with genuine contrition for all our sinfulness, we can be confident that when the priest says, “I absolve you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” that we are indeed absolved.  For Jesus has said to His Church, “Whatever you loose on earth will be considered loosed in heaven.” 
May the body and blood of Jesus we shall receive today nourish us and strengthen to experience, celebrate, understand and reciprocate the unlimited forgiveness of God on us by our sharing of that same forgiveness with our brothers and sisters.  As we pray in the Lord’s prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” 
Let us close with the familiar Prayer of St. Francis: 
“Lord, make me a channel of your peace.  
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;    
Where there is injury, pardon;   
Where there is doubt, faith;   
Where there is despair, hope;   
Where there is darkness, light;         
And where there is sadness, joy. 
“Grant that I may never seek to be consoled as to console;   to be understood as to understand;  to be loved as to love;  for it is in giving that we receive;  it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;  and    it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Therefore, let us do something today before it is too late.  May the Lord forgive us all our sins and may He grant us a forgiving spirit.  Amen    
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 
Fr. Galadima Bitrus, OSA
THE PLATINUM RULE?
Forgive Others as You Would Want God to Forgive You
In matters of everyday life, Jesus would exhort us to apply the golden rule: “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets” (Mt 7:12). This is an anthropologically based principle for our conduct towards one another. Its measure is human self-love. In matters of forgiveness, however, Jesus raises the bar, exhorting us to make recourse to a higher basis, a divine basis, a theologically based motivation, so to speak. Thus, the saying goes: “to err is human but to forgive is divine.”
The need to forgive others as we would want God to forgive us is at the heart of today’s liturgical readings. This is what I would like to refer to as the “platinum rule”, precisely because it has a deeper and more fundamental basis than the golden rule. It has God’s conduct as its basis, not human conduct.
The Gospel Reading (Mt 18:21-35) continues from the pericope on fraternal correction (Mt 18:15-20) which we read last Sunday. Peter asks Jesus regarding how often a brother shall forgive another who offends him. Peter’s question whether we need to forgive as many as “seven times” (Mt 18:21) suggests that he would have considered seven times to be quite many. Jesus’ answer provides for tens of seven instead (Mt 18:22): “Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy times seven (70×7). Thus, seven times becomes only a small fraction of the forgiveness frequency that Jesus exhorts.
Jesus goes ahead to demonstrate the absurdity of unforgiveness with a parable which shows a servant who owed his master 10,000 talents being forgiven his debt. He obtained mercy when he had cried out only for patience and time to repay: “Have patience with me and I will pay you everything”, the servant cried out (Mt 18:26). But his master, “out of pity released him and forgave him the debt” (Mt 18:27). That servant received even more than he had asked for; he received compassion and remission instead of patience and delay which he had asked for.
But that same servant who knew the joy of compassion and remission, could not himself offer it; he who had been forgiven the debt of a grand sum of 10,000 talents could not forgive a meagre sum of 100 denarii. He could not even grant the patience and time which he had asked for, nor could he show the compassion to forgive which he had enjoyed.
This drew the attention of all who knew of this and ultimately of his master who now reversed his remission and offered him in return what he offered another; he gave him the measure of condemnation with which he had condemned his fellow: he was also thrown into prison until he could pay his entire debt (Mt 18:34; cf. v.30).
Finally, Jesus drew out the lesson of his parable: to everyone who does not forgive his brother or sister, the heavenly father will not forgive him either (Mt 18:35). And certainly, we owe God much more than anyone has ever owed us; we have offended and sinned against God more than anyone has ever offended or sinned against us. It is absurd, therefore, to ask God to forgive us so much that we owe him when we cannot forgive the so little that a brother or sister owes us. In the prayer of our father, Jesus taught his disciples to pray: “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Mt 6:12). This “platinum rule” of forgiveness is, therefore, a fundamental Christian teaching. In the matter of forgiveness, we must imitate God who forgives us always!
The 1st Reading (Sirach 27:30-28:7), with its proverbial wisdom language, also underscores this logic of divine imitation in matters of forgiveness. With rhetorical questioning expressing statements of self-evident truth, the sacred sage clearly points out: “He that takes vengeance will suffer vengeance from the Lord…; forgive your neighbour the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray…; does a man harbour anger against another, and yet seek for healing from the Lord? Does he have no mercy towards a man like himself, and yet pray for his own sins? ….”
In this way, we are reminded that the basis of our forgiveness for others is nothing human but God’s own forgiveness for us. We forgive others because God forgives us, and we forfeit God’s forgiveness when we do not forgive others. And if God does not forgive us, we are doomed. For if the Lord should mark our guilt and keep account of them, who will survive? (Psalm 130:3).
The 2nd Reading (Romans 14:7-9) underlines the divine basis and end, not only of our forgiveness but ultimately of our life itself: “None of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord” (Rm 14:7-8).
May God’s mercy towards us inspire us to deal mercifully with our fellow humans; may his forgiveness of our 10,000 talents inspire us to forgive those who owe us 100 denarii. Teach us Lord to forgive others that we may be worthy of your forgiveness!
Have a Spirit-filled Sunday and a blessed Week!

Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai

Forgiveness is our Business  

Today’s readings deal with the crucial issue of forgiveness. While the gospel reading says we must forgive not once but indefinitely, the first reading says forgiveness is a condition to obtain mercy. The Psalm further strengthens this theme when it says that the Lord forgives sins and does not treat us according to our sins. Forgiveness is a proper feature of Christianity and one of the most difficult Christian virtues. As Christians forgiveness is our business. If we do not forgive we betray Christ. It is also one of the criteria for salvation. God’s salvation in Christ is the ultimate example of forgiveness. Christ died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. He was wrongly accused yet he forgave. Some people say they can never forgive because they were wrongly accused. The cross is a symbol of false accusation and forgiveness.  If we don’t forgive we betray and alter the beauty of the cross.

Today’s readings show that there is no limit to God’s mercy or as to the number of times we can ask for mercy. The Psalmist tells us that the Lord is rich in mercy.  Jesus told Peter that “forgiveness is not seven times, but seventy times seven”. Peter asked this question because the Jewish rabbis at that time taught that forgiving someone more than three times was unnecessary, citing Amos 1:3-13 where God forgave Israel’s enemies three times, then punished them. So Peter was still thinking in the limited terms of the law, rather than in the unlimited terms of grace. So, Christ demands about forgiveness means that we are to forgive indefinitely and unlimitedly. With man this may be impossible but with God all things are possible. Only a man of the spirit who lives for God according to the second reading can forgive wrong indefinitely and unlimitedly.

Forgiveness is also one of the criteria for answering prayers. Matt.5:23-24 says “if  you are offering your gift at the altar, and there you remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way and make peace.” Beloved, unforgiveness is the reason some prayers are not answered. The way you treat your brother is the same way God will treat your gift. Unforgiveness is a wait. Until you forgive your prayer request are place on hold. Until you forgive your gifts will remain at the altar waiting for acceptance. You can give the best of offerings and fast very well; do all the available novena but if you don’t forgive your prayers will remain at the altar waiting for acceptance. This is why many prayer requests are not granted.

The first reading further illustrated this with some questions. It says “Does a man habour anger against another, and yet seek for healing from the Lord?” Again, it asked; “Does he have no mercy towards a man like himself, and yet pray for his own sins?” Beloved, forgiveness is a condition for forgiveness. Matt.6:12 “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” in verse 14 it says “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” verse 15 added “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” The gospel concludes by saying that “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Let us forgive our neigbours as their debts are smaller compared to what we owe the Lord. It may be difficult to let go; but your healing, breakthrough, favour and salvation depend on it. Don’t be a hindrance to your own salvation.

Lastly, the Psalmist says the Lord is slow to anger. If the Lord is slow to anger it will be dangerous for us to be quick to anger. Anger and wrath according to the first reading are abominations. The Gospel shows how anger was displayed when it says that  the man who was forgiven saw his fellow servant who is indebted to him and immediately seized him by the throat and said “pay what you owe”. Beloved, we must learn to control our temperaments. We must learn to be patient with people. Don’t seize people on the throat because they owe you and don’t fight people because you are right. We should be slow to anger. Prov.14:29 says “whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” As humans, anger no doubt is inevitable but we must be slow towards it. In fact Eph. 4:26 says “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” verse 27 says “and do not give the devil an opportunity.” Therefore, prolonged anger is the devil’s opportunity to endanger you. Don’t give the devil that opportunity. Anger has led many into regrettable and irreparable actions. The man, who seized his fellow servant eventually, was regarded as a wicked servant and he was thrown into prison. If we don’t control our anger; we become wicked and we may end up in eternal prison.

Lord as we worship you today, give us the grace to be slow to anger and be quick to forgive. Amen.

 

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Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria. He was ordained October 20th, 2018. He offers his daily homilies, talks and articles that bother on, faith, theology, morals and many other burning issues in religion and politics. Fr. Daniel writes poems, inspirational quotes and clips.