September 6, 2020

“Owe nothing to anyone except to love.” It sounds like the simplest of all statements yet it is one of the most comprehensive of all Christian teachings. Love creates an obligation to act only in a manner that promotes the good of our neighbor as opposed to acting selfishly. Love holds us accountable to wish for and to work for nothing except the other person’s wellbeing. Thanks to this debt of love, prophets and priests, as we saw in the first reading, are to be held accountable and must act in favor of the people of God; just as parents must do towards their loved ones. Love creates the sacred and inescapable obligation for those in whose care other people’s lives have been entrusted to shine the light in the right direction and to be catalysts for virtuous living. One of the greatest acts of love is to act compassionately and to be forgiving as Jesus clearly demonstrated on the cross. Consequently, He reminds us, in today’s gospel, of the steps we must take and the obligation we all have to seek peace and to reconcile with one another. The steps clearly indicate how cardinal the duty to make peace with one’s neighbor is as well as the consequences that there are if we do not; as we see in the parable of the merciless servant in the gospel of Matthew 18:21-25. Can we all stop and think for a moment: Who do you do owe mercy? Who do you owe compassion? Who do you need to forgive? And who do you owe love? May we each ask God for the grace to recognize where we have failed in our duty to love and to seek to do better while we still have time. If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts, Amen.

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