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Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

August 13, 2020

Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

August 13, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry


Memorial Feast:  Saint Pontian, Pope and Martyr (+235), and Saint Hippolytus, Priest and Martyr (170-+235)

Book of the Prophet Ezekiel 12:1-12

Psalm 78

Matthew 18:21-19:1


Today’s Gospel narrative is a sort of harsh look at what should be the least harsh of subjects; forgiveness.  It brings up the difficulties in forgiveness, that is that it can be a very hard thing to do.  We are supposed to forgive others like God forgives us, but we are still human and have human emotions and motivations.

Approximately ten years ago a man who was a reputed mob hit-man was interviewed.  He had killed at least twenty people in cold blood, but managed to keep up his Catholic faith.  The interviewer asked him how he could reconcile that.  The hit man said that he went to confession and confessed his mob activities.  He said his penance was (and I am not exaggerating) was ten Hail Mary’s, ten Our Fathers, and don’t do it again.  Additionally, he received jail time which was reduced because he was an informant. 

I don’t know about you but I feel that the hit man’s penance was a little light.  But then am I like the servant that Jesus speaks about in the Gospel?  I haven’t murdered one person, let alone twenty plus, but if I had, wouldn’t I hope for forgiveness?  And, more importantly, when I am forgiven should I resent anyone else being forgiven? 

Our servant in the Gospel owes a huge debt, impossible to repay in an instant.  His master is justified in turning him over to the authorities, but the servant begs for more time, and swears he will pay the debt when he is able, and the master forgives him the debt.  This man must be enormously relieved and quite elated.  I am sure this problem had been hanging over his head and caused him many sleepless nights.  However, the servant is now faced with a new problem.  He must now franticly find money to repay his master.  He decides to harass the people who owe him money and refuses to grant the same mercy his master gave him, that is, for more time to pay the debt.   His own master gave him more time, but he sends his fellow servant to the authorities for the return of his money.  When the master learned that his lesson of mercy did not continue, he rescinded it.  Why should he extend mercy to someone who was not willing to do the same?

What then have we learned?  Better yet, what than did I learn?  Rather than being resentful or judgmental about the mob hit-man’s level of forgiveness, and perhaps blocking my own possibility of forgiveness, I should feel heartened and hopeful that my own lesser transgressions might be forgiven as well.

Question of the Day:  How will you live and spread the Compassion of the King?  

Prayer:  Lord, today I will pray an “Our Father”++ slowly and thoughtfully as I think about the words you taught us and how I live them in my own life.  I will also pray for generosity of spirit and openness to God.  Amen.

Please continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who are affected by this unprecedented pandemic as well as for peace in our country and in our world.




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