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常年期第24主日 HOMILY 24th Sunday OT A September 17, 2023

 

常年期第24主日 HOMILY 24rd Sunday OT A September 17, 2023

 

Fr. Anson Antony

 

A man was bitten by a dog. Later it was discovered that the dog had rabies. This was back when there was no cure for rabies. His doctor brought him the bad news. “Everything possible will be done to make you comfortable,” he said, “but we cannot offer any false hope. My best advice to you is to put your affairs in order as soon as possible.” The man very calmly got out a piece of paper and began furiously writing. The doctor said: “What are you doing, making out your will?” He said: “Oh no, I’m writing out a list of people I’m going to bite.” — Our subject today is forgiveness. How many times must I forgive someone who has hurt me, abused me, exploited me? That is Simon Peter’s question. How many times? Would seven times be enough? All three readings today remind us of the path to forgiveness, mercy, and reconciliation and challenge us to walk this path with Jesus, the only Way to Life.

Sirach, in the first reading, reminds his listeners that if they don’t heal and forgive and show mercy, they can’t expect to receive mercy from God in return. It is unwise to nurse grudges and wise to forgive because our life span is very short and our eternal destiny is decided by how we forgive, how we work for reconciliation with those who wound us, and how we render humble and loving service to them. In today’s Psalm, (Ps 103), the Psalmist sings, “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness.” In the second reading, Paul reminds us that we have to forgive others because we belong to Christ who, by his own example in forgiving those who killed Him, taught us how we must forgive in our turn. Since we humans are related to each other as brothers and sisters of Jesus, we are in the family of God, so hatred and bitterness toward anyone should have no place in our hearts. In today’s Gospel, through the parable of the two debtors, Jesus teaches us that there should be no limit to our forgiveness and no conditions attached to our reconciliation. We represent the greater debtor in the parable because we commit sins every day and, hence, we need God’s forgiveness every day. But we must forgive in order to be forgiven. Jesus explains, after teaching us the prayer ‘Our Father’, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father also will forgive you. “

Brothers and Sisters, We need to forgive, forget, and be reconciled: In the light of eternity and the shortness of our span of life, harboring old grudges is pointless. Neighbors who remained hostile and unforgiving till their deaths are buried a short distance from one another in the same cemetery. Our ability and willingness to forgive are the measure of the depth of our Christianity. The forgiveness that we offer others is the indispensable condition that makes it possible for us to receive God’s forgiveness and to pray meaningfully: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Let us remember St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer: “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.” Our failure to offer pardon means that we have forgotten God’s goodness or have not fully appreciated the unconditional forgiveness we have received from Him. What God expects from us, and offers us grace to give, is limitless forgiving with the ability and willingness to overlook faults and to keep on loving even in the face of insults.

We may never forget the hurt we have experienced, but we can, with His ongoing grace, choose to forgive and pray for our offenders. As life goes on and we remember an incident that was hurtful and roused great anger in us, we need to remind ourselves that, with God’s grace, we have already forgiven the one that hurt us. Time does heal memories. Forgiveness finally changes us from being prisoners of our past to being liberated and at peace with our memories. Forgiveness allows us to move beyond the pain, the resentment, and the anger. When we forgive, we make the choice that heals. We can forgive the offender by wishing him God’s blessings and by offering that individual to God by simply saying, “Help so-and-so and me to mend our relationship.” When we withhold forgiveness, we remain the victim. When we offer forgiveness, we are doing it also for our own well-being.

 


 

(中文翻譯.原文以英文為準.)

常年期 (甲年) 第二十四主日 (09/17/2023)
Fr. Anson 主日證道中譯本


讀經一: 德訓篇 27:33 - 28:9
讀經二: 聖保祿宗徒致羅馬人書 14:7-9
聖瑪竇福音 18:21-35


一名男子被狗咬傷。後來發現這隻狗患有狂犬症。那時狂犬症仍是不治之症。他的醫生給他帶來了壞消息。醫生說: “我們將盡一切努力讓您感到舒適,但我們不能給你虛假的期望。我給你的最好建議就是盡快把你的事情安排好。”那人很平靜地拿出一張紙,開始
奮筆疾書。醫生說:“你在做什麼,寫遺囑嗎?”他說:“不,我正在寫一份我要咬的人的名單。” 


我們今天的主題是寬恕。我必須原諒傷害我、虐待我、剝削我的人多少次?這是西滿伯多祿的問題。多少次?七次夠了吧?今天的三篇讀經都提醒我們通往寬恕、憐憫與和解的道路,並考驗我們與耶穌一起走的這條道路,是得永生的唯一途徑。


西拉赫在讀經一中提醒羣眾,如果他們不治癒、不寬恕、不表現出憐憫,就不能指望得到上主的憐憫。含恨在心是愚眛的,而寬恕卻是明智的,因為我們的壽數很短,而我們是否能獲永生取決於我們能否寬恕,如何與那些傷害我們的人和解,以及我們如何為他們提供謙卑與愛心的服務。在今天的答唱詠 103 篇中,達味唱道:“上主富於仁愛寬恕,極其慈悲,緩於發怒。”在讀經二中,聖保祿提醒我們,我們必須寬恕別人,因為我們屬於基督,基督以自己的榜樣寬恕了那些殺害他的人,教導我們也應同樣寬恕别人。既然
我們是耶穌的兄弟姐妹,我們與天主是一家人,所以對任何人的仇恨和歹毒不應在我們的心中佔有席位。在今天的福音中,耶穌通過兩個欠債人的比喻教導我們,我們的寬恕不應有任何限制,我們與人的和解也不應附有任何條件。在這個比喻中,我們就是那個更大的欠債人,因為我們每天都在犯罪,因此,我們每天都需要上主的寬恕。但我們必須寬恕人,我們才能被寬恕。耶穌在教導我們以天主經作禱告後解釋說:“你們若寬恕他人的過犯,你們的天父也會寬恕你們。 “


兄弟姐妹們,我們需要寬恕、忘記仇恨、及與人修和:在永恆生命和短暫現世的抉擇中,懷抱怨恨沒有多大意義。到死前仍然充滿敵意和拒絕寬恕的鄰居們,死後都被埋葬在彼此相距不遠的同一墓地裡是多麼的諷刺。擁有寬恕的能力和意願是衡量我們基督徒信仰深度的準則。寬恕他人是我們能夠獲得天主的寬恕並作具意義的祈禱之不可或缺條件:“求你寬恕我們的罪過,如同我們寬恕別人一樣。”讓我們記住阿西西聖方濟各的祈禱:“正是在寬恕中,我們才得到寬恕。”我們未能寬恕別人意味著我們忘記了天主的美善
,或者沒有完全感激我們從祂那裡得到的無條件寬恕。天主對我們的期望,以及給予我們的恩典,是無限的寬恕,讓我們有能力和意願超越罪過,即使面對侮辱也能繼續去愛。

我們可能永遠不會忘記我們所經歷的傷害,但我們可以靠著他持續的恩典,選擇寬恕並為冒犯我們的人祈禱。生活是持續不斷的,當我們想起一件傷害我們並激起我們極大憤怒的事件時,我們需要提醒自己,靠著天主的恩典,我們已經原諒了傷害我們的人。時間確實可以治愈傷痛的回憶。寬恕最終將我們從過去的囚徒轉變為被釋放者,並與我們的記憶和平相處。寬恕讓我們能夠超越痛苦、怨恨和憤怒。當我們寬恕時,我們就做出了治癒的選擇。我們可以原諒冒犯者,祝願他得到天主的祝福,並將那個人獻給上主,只需說:“幫助他和我修補我們的關係。”當我們拒絕寬恕時,我們仍然是受害者。當我們願意寬恕時,我們也是為了我們自己的福祉。