THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
14 October 2018
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The power of prayer is much greater than we even imagine. The servant in today's Gospel was burdened with an overwhelming debt. He asked for time to repay, but he was given much more than he asked. The entire debt was forgiven him. The same applies to us all in our prayers to God. He is desirous of giving us much more than we ever hope to ask for. We have been encouraged to ask and He has promised that we will receive. If we will seek, we shall find. If we knock He will open to us. We often are so short-sighted that we only ask and seek material things or temporal things. God desires to give us much more than this. These things are nothing compared to the eternal happiness He has in store for us in Heaven. It is this fullness of grace eternal life in Heaven, that He desires that we ask for and seek.
In our confessions, we admit our crimes (sins) and beg for time to repent and to do penance just like the servant in today's Gospel. God readily forgives us through the instrumentality of His priests. The priest imposes a penance that is much less than the punishment deserves. The mercy of Christ and His merits remove the heavy burden that we have imposed upon ourselves through sin. Through the sacrament of Penance, our sins are forgiven, but we also are showered with many graces to aid us in our seeking of the Kingdom of Heaven. The real tragedy is that these graces are often ignored or abused because we give no thought to the pursuit of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The magnificent gifts (graces) that God showers upon us are not truly understood, much less appreciated. The unjust servant was only concerned with his advancement in this world in the temporal material world. Having been forgiven an enormous debt, he still feels his material poverty and seeks to rebuild for himself all that he lost of his Master's wealth even if this entails abuse of his fellow servant.
The mercy of God is infinite and we should seek and beg for things eternal, not the things that are material and passing away with time. We are told to lay up treasures in Heaven treasures that are eternal rather than ones that will be consumed by rust or moths or be stolen by thieves. We are admonished to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. God will give us all the temporal or material things we need for the time we spend in this world. He does this for everyone regardless of their goodness or sinfulness. His sun shines and His rain falls upon the just and the unjust alike in this world. However, only the just will enter into the eternal glory of Heaven.
The justice that opens the door to Heaven for us, is much more than we can ever hope to obtain of ourselves. However, it is very easily obtained, simply by asking for it. With true humble repentance, our sins are forgiven, grace is given, and the door to Heaven is opened to us.
Sadly, the parable does not end here. The servant who was given much more than he asked for or could even hope for forgot the mercy he received as he treated his fellow man most unmercifully. Having been forgiven much and given everything because he prayed for mercy, he now treats another without any compassion or consideration. For a trifling sum, he forfeits everything. No sooner does the Master hear of the stewards unmerciful conduct towards another, then He recalls him to his former debt and punishment. He had little; he gained everything; then he lost it all. Hence, the very words of the Lord's Prayer are brought to bear. "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." This man could not forgive a debt that was owed to him, so he made it impossible for God to forgive him the debt that he had incurred.
We should learn to pray with confidence and to understand that God desires to give us much more than we can even hope to ask for. His mercy and generosity are, however, conditioned upon the mercy and generosity that we show to one another. God is generous with those who are generous; He is merciful towards those who are merciful. If we give a cup of water to someone in His Name, we have done it to Him. For the price of a cup of water, we can merit eternal happiness in Heaven. For the unmerciful demand of exact justice in regards to the smallest of debts from our neighbor, we are held to an exactness of justice in regards to our many offenses, and thus forfeit eternity. Like Esau, we sacrifice our inheritance (Heaven) for a mess of porridge.
May we always show loving-kindness, mercy, and generosity toward one another, so that we may receive the same from God.
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