Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - 11/9/2011 - Gospel: Mt 18:21-35

Continue Counting
Mistakes can happen in various forms, both verbal and non verbal ones. There are big and small mistakes. There are known and unknown mistakes. The question of how many mistakes I would make in a life time has no answer. It is simply because there are too many mistakes that I have to account for. There are also countless mistakes that I do not recognize but others people can name them. Look at the larger picture and we see that human errors throughout history, for whatever reasons, have much to contribute to a collapse of a firm, a closure of an airline or a bank and presently the whole world is suffering caused by the world economic down turn. Human errors have caused many people to live in poverty with daily strain and pain.

At a personal level if you do not agree that we make countless mistakes then take a driving test you soon find out your driving skills. The question how many mistakes that I would make in a life time has no accurate answer. I guess the right answer would be 'continue to count'. There is one thing I am sure of and that is if I try to avoid making mistakes I will make fewer mistakes or at least make fewer serious ones.

Mistakes are there for us to learn and to grow. In order to grow we must learn of our own and as well as of other people mistakes. The question of how often must I forgive others when they wrong me must be a learning question, learning by forgiving. Forgiveness is an act of charity that flows from the heart. A person, not with a heart of stone, but with a heart of compassion is able to forgive. Person with a heart of stone would learn to forgive no one. Because of that, that person would learn nothing and would repeat the same mistake again and again. I think it is the problem of the servant who owed the king ten thousand talents that today gospel talks about. He received pardon from the king but learnt nothing from it. There was not even a mention that he would give thanks to the king for his mercy and cancellation of his mountain of debt.

The servant received pardon from the king but had no pity for his brothers who implored him for more time for the repayment of their debt. He had been in the same situation and would have understood the stress he and his family had gone through in this terrible experience when his debt was due to pay and he had nothing to pay it with. He learnt to receive but not to give. In other words he thinks of himself and cares for no one.

It is interesting to know that the man himself learnt nothing from the mercy he received from the king but his friends learnt it well. Forgiveness generates life while unforgiveness destroys life. This applied to the man who learnt not to give and lost everything he had. Firstly, the king took back the cancellation of the enormous debt he had pardoned the man and secondly his friends left him. He is now alone in his misery.

The king degraded him as a 'wicked servant' not servant and imprisoned him untill he paid the last penny. His friends were not happy with his behaviour. They were friend with him no more. They went ahead to report the whole affair to the king. In judging him the king told himm

"Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I have pity on you

Forgiveness leads to forgiveness and true forgiveness must come from the heart, not lips.