(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 2 November 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about how important it is for us to practice our faith with real commitment and zeal, and not just empty words and proclamations. And we cannot be hypocrites in our faith, like the example which our Lord Jesus gave us, in the wicked and unforgiving servant, who was forgiven in his own debts, but did not forgive the debts of others whose debts are even smaller then his own debt.

How is the parable of the wicked servant, as told by Jesus, relevant to us? It is indeed relevant, as the actions of the wicked servant and the other servants, are all in fact representative of our own actions, and our own dispositions in life. The wicked servant was in fact representative of the Pharisees and the chief priests, whom the Lord rebuked for their actions in life. But this could also easily mean the same for us, as it is easy for us to follow in their footsteps too.

How is this so? That is because we have to first realise the fact that we are all sinners, and sin is like a debt, a debt which we owe the Lord. Not that the Lord owns sins and neither it is that the Lord is the One who gave us sin. No, it is not. Sin is the disobedience of mankind against the will of God, and therefore, it directly and indirectly refers to the lack of love and honour which we should have given and presented to God.

Thus, when we sin before the Lord, we owe the Lord the love and honour, which we should have given to Him, which we instead gave to Satan, the father of sin and lies. And the more we sin, thus the greater is our debt of love towards God, and the more we have to pay back, just as the wicked servant owed the master a lot of money, to the point that he was unable to pay it back.

And this is why our Lord Jesus came in, for He is the Word incarnate into flesh, the Son of God who had been sent into the world by the Father, so that by what He had done, via His ultimate sacrifice of love on the cross, He offered Himself as a worthy Lamb of God, the ultimate price to be paid for our sins, the whole mountains of our sinfulness, indeed! For the sum of all of our sins are indeed so great, that it may seem to us at first that they are insurmountable.

But what is impossible for men, is indeed possible for God. Nothing is impossible, and just as the master forgave all the debts of the wicked servant, the Lord Jesus also absolved the sins of mankind when He sacrificed Himself on the cross, and gave justification and salvation to all mankind. But then, it cannot stop here, just as the parable has a continuation.

The wicked servant also had his fellow servants who owed him money, far smaller in amount than what the wicked servant had once owed his master. Yet, he did not emulate the example of his master, and persecuted his fellow servant just for the sake of that small debt, which he refused to forgive. This is a reality of our faith, and one which may easily occur to us as well.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, no matter how much and how often they have hated Jesus and tried to undermine His works, were also forgiven their sins by Jesus, who even forgave them again on the cross, when He asked the Father not to take into account their actions filled with sin. And yet, despite this, they persecuted their fellow men, for their little sins, which according to them, taints a person and makes him or her unworthy of salvation. They were unbending in their rules and persecuted and ostracised the people for even the smallest matters of the Law.

And how about us, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is the same. We have also been forgiven our sins, but we do not follow the example of Christ in many if not most situations. How often can we remember that we do not forgive or take great offence at one another, even our own close family members, even for the smallest of matter? How often is it that we refused to forgive our brethren just because he or she had wronged us, and we remained in our anger and vengeance?

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, the readings today from the Scripture made it very clear to us, how we have to take heed of the Lord Jesus’ actions and teachings, that is to wear all the aspects of our faith upon us, to guard over the possible temptations and advances of the devil. The breastplate of faith is the core of our faith in God, in the One who had forgiven us our debts, and give us a new chance in life, which however will not be complete, if it is not accompanied by action filled with justice, love and truth.

This means that our actions must emulate the actions of Christ, and we have to forgive one another the mistakes which we have committed to each other. We have to show justice in our actions to our fellow men, and if the Lord had forgiven us from such a great debt and sin, who are we not to follow His examples, and instead be like the wicked servant who persecuted his fellow servant for so small a debt?

Let us take heed of this, lest we suffer the same fate as the wicked servant, who was thrown into jail, into the darkness, having to pay every cent of his debt. And as mentioned, the great extent of our sins is immeasurable and insurmountable, by us. And therefore, the result of disobeying the Lord and following the path of the wicked servant is eternal suffering, or hell.

We certainly do not want this, and thus, let us change our ways, and become better children and servant of our God, that we may be worthy of life together with Him, in full bliss and happiness, forever. Amen.