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  • Bill Miller

Scripture Reflection, September 17, 2023, 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sirach 27:30--28:7 Romans 14:7-9 Matthew 18:21-35

The wisdom of the spiritual life reminds us that "Every saint has a past; every sinner has a future. “ I suggest that key to the movement from sinner to saint is God's forgiveness, experienced when we perceive that we need that forgiveness. First, I must recognize that I have done something for which I need to be forgiven, and then I realize and accept forgiveness. Without the difficult, sometimes painful, realization of my own sin I will not seek nor appreciate God's always offered forgiveness and move from sinner to saint.

The wicked servant in today's gospel has just such a blind spot. With himself as the center of his own universe he fails to treat his fellow servant with the forgiveness he has been shown. It is not until he is reported to the master that this wicked servant is forced to confront his own bad behavior and see it for what it truly was.

Examination of conscience is a good thing. Individually, without reflection on where we have been wrong we cannot hope to do better. We will not seek and then find forgiveness but will stay trapped, our spiritual growth stunted.

The same can be said of our society. Unless we see the sins of racism, , greed, destruction of the Earth and its resources… for the evils that they are, we will never do better… be better.

In our country, the attack on our capital on January 6th is a good example. A violent mob attacked Capitol police, screamed for the death of the vice president and sought an end to the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another. There are those who tell us not to look back. Just look ahead, they say. Pay no attention to the evil that was done and how we got there.

But without such "paying attention” justice cannot be served. Forgiveness cannot be sought and received. We cannot do better.. be better.

Let us each seek to recognize where we have failed to become all God wants of us, to repent and seek forgiveness.

And, as citizens, let us accept the role of the servants in today's gospel. Let us pay attention, recognize evil and injustice where it exists and intervene.

Edmund Burke was right. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing.”

by: Pat Schnee

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