Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 8:31 AM
Live Streaming mass is available by clicking the Red "Watch Live" button. Explore "Formed" for videos, books and cartoons for children. Free resource. Text "OLFWILTON" to 84576 to join flocknote.

9/17/17 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 130

  • From today’s responsorial psalm: “The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.”
  • And from today’s Gospel: “Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.  So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."
  • How do we reconcile these two diametrically opposed statements
  • How can a kind and merciful God described in today’s psalm allow us to be tortured to pay for our sins?
  • Some might term the punishment described in today’s Gospel as “Justice” but is this what God’s justice really looks like?
  • We can all too often see justice and mercy as representing two opposing points of view, when in reality; they’re very much dependent upon each other from a spiritual perspective…
  • For God – Justice and Mercy are inextricably linked
  • We most often equate justice with punishment… to the point that the two words have almost become synonymous…
  • It’s most certainly true, that our God is a God of Justice – But when we think of justice – We most often think of the world’s retributive justice…
  • Justice based upon the concept of retribution, or punishment - “An eye for an eye type of justice…”
  • God’s justice is not retributive, it’s restorative...
  • It restores the good that was lost… And that’s the key to understanding how justice and mercy are interdependent in God’s eyes…
  • God isn’t out to get us - He desires our restoration into His Kingdom, not our punishment or our demise...
  • The purity of Christ’s message of love and mercy and compassion must never be allowed to be distorted by our human tendency to re-create God in our own image...
  • God doesn’t desire to torture us – We torture ourselves by holding on to unforgiveness
  • Again from today’s Gospel: “Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
    "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive?  As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times
  • Unforgiveness results from a hurt… A wound that we’ve acquired from someone or some situation that affects us deeply…
  • It’s a wound that festers and deepens with resentment
  • It’s often a hurt that says to us: “We didn’t deserve that… How could that person have been so unkind and so inconsiderate, How could this have happened to me?”
  • Unforgiveness has its root in judgment… Specifically - Judgment of another person’s intentions…
  • At its core... Justice is a cry to make things right againA cry to restore something that has been lost
  • As we know all too well, some losses simply cannot be restored…
  • But there’s a basic tenet of our faith that needs to be accepted:  Everything is Redemptive… Everything brings new life
  • This is what the life, death, and resurrection of Christ teaches us
  • God may not bring back what we’ve lost, but God will always ultimately bring good from loss or tragedy
  • God restores and constantly renews His creation… Every day…
  • And He often relies upon each of us to accomplish this
  • The world’s retributive justice can never restore, and can never bring new life
  • Re-living our pain or transmitting that pain to another by holding on to our unforgiveness will never restore our loss
  •  The pain of a tragedy, or a wrong, or a hurt, can never be healed by inflicting that pain upon another…
  • Someone recently said something to me that profoundly affected how I see my life within the world around me…
  • She said: “I have learned to expect nothing and to accept everything…”
  • If we’re to learn to be forgiving, we must first begin to take these words to heart and make them our own
  • We’re each called to work for justice in this world and in our relationships… But not the world’s retributive justice which tears down, but rather God’s restorative justice, which heals and builds up
  • Resisting the temptation to react, and instead, choosing to respond
  • And when we fail to do this – This is when unforgiveness and resentment can take root within us, and grow into bitterness and envy
  • This is when we often insist upon replaying the tapes in our mind… Reinforcing and rationalizing our unforgiveness…
  • Mercy has been defined as: “Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.”
  • Forgiveness is the manifestation of God’s mercy in the world
  • True justicerestorative justiceGod’s justice, cannot exist without mercy
  • With Jesus - Everything begins and ends with love...
  • Because only love has the transformative power to save us from ourselves...
    • Not punishment, not violence, not anger, not revenge, not vengeance... Only love...
  • Everything that we do in our lives must be measured against our answer to Jesus’ simple question to Peter in the Gospel of John: “Do you love Me?
  • We answer that question with a resounding YESEvery time we choose to forgive


There are no comments for this post.

Add a comment

Will not be shared.
Add Comment
Online Giving

Online Giving

Secure and Convenient Donate now!