By Noirin Lynch
In this week’s readings, we hear about kindness and greed as Jesus tells the parable of the servant whose debt is forgiven. We sometimes think that this gospel is about how many times we are asked to forgive others. Yet on reflection, we can see the challenge is actually much deeper than numbers. We are being challenged to realise how blessed we are and invited to use our privilege and power to support, not oppress, all around us. Let us be, like the Lord, “kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion”. In Matthew’s account of the Gospel, we hear Jesus’ parable about a king forgiving a debt – that is, the King uses his power to set someone free from what was oppressing them. Then we hear how the now-free-from-debt servant fails to offer the same freedom to another. This enrages the King, who condemns the man. His condemnation is not about the money though. Instead, the King expects that the privilege granted to his servant would have transformed his heart, and he is shocked that it hasn’t. The servant had had the experience but missed the meaning – the opportunity to grow and live in kindness. Instead, he chose to remain greedy. Those of us who rarely know hunger, who have never lost our homes to floods or fires, who live in a democratic state are privileged. It might not always feel that way, in fact we might worry a lot about what is owed to us, but we actually have a blessed life. When we remain consumed by what others ‘owe us’ or whether others deserve what they have, we lose sight of God’s generous grace. This week’s gospel, and this season of creation, is an opportunity to notice where our heart is – trapped in fear and greed, or open and grateful. The first reading today asks: “Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?” We ask our leaders, our churches, our neighbours and ourselves – Could anyone know the love of God and not recognise and respect God present in every living thing?"
“In effect, there is a clear link between the protection of nature and the building of a just and equitable social order. There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature, without a renewal of humanity itself.” – Pope Francis, Laudato Si’.
“As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning… Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life” – Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, 207.