Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Homily)
September 13, 2020 11:30 am · Father Sergio Muñoz Fita
God's Word is so crystal clear today that hardly anything else needs to be added. "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Don't you think that this petition in the Lord's Prayer sums up what the Lord is trying to tell us today?
My spiritual director, Father Carlos Valverde, told me the following story before he died about someone he had personally known. In 1939 when the Spanish Civil War ended, the son of one of the victims filed a complaint against his father’s killers, demanding that they be prosecuted and executed. These men had fought for the defeated Communist army, and as the Nationals had won the war, he expected those men to be shot as punishment for their crime. Proud of himself, he came home and said to his poor mother, a simple peasant, "Mother, justice is finally going to be done!" His mother replied, "Why do you say that, my son?" "Because I have reported my father's murderers to the authorities. “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” His mother stared at him and said, "What have you done?" Her son answered, "I have reported those who widowed you, Mother!"
That simple woman, who had perhaps not read a book in her life, but had learned today's Gospel lesson well, said to her son: “Don't you know what Jesus says in the Gospel? Don't you know that he asked us to forgive up to seventy times seven and to love our enemies? Don't you know that Jesus, on the cross, offered his mercy to those who were crucifying him? Right now, my son, you are going back to the authorities and tell them, on my behalf, you are withdrawing that complaint.”
Father Valverde ended this story with these words: I knew that woman. During the following years, which were years of great famine and misery throughout Spain, this poor widow offered help in many ways to those who had tortured and killed her husband.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is what the Lord asks of us today. Forgive to be forgiven. Imitate the love of Christ and love those who hate us. Help those who have made us suffer. Return good for bad. Treat others as we want God to treat us. Imitate the goodness of our Father who causes his sun to rise on the good and the bad and makes the rain fall on the just and the unjust.
That is what being a Christian consists of: showing a way of life that is not like that of those who do not have Jesus Christ in their life. Forgive your enemy, your boss, your relative, your husband, and let yourself be forgiven by them.
Do not hold a grudge and learn to turn a new page with joy. If you do, all the mercy that the psalm spoke of will be poured out on you and will bring you peace, joy and hope of one day reaching eternal happiness in Paradise.