Liturgy: Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost - Forgiveness Denied to the Unforgiving

November 01, 2019
Source: District of the USA
This depiction by Jan van Hemessen (c. 1556) shows the moment when the king scolds the servant.

That portion of the divine Word which we have in today's Gospel sums up the whole Christian life in the practice of that virtue of charity which makes us treat our neighbor as almighty God has treated us.

He has forgiven us great sins; let us in turn, learn how to forgive our brethren their infinitely less important offenses against us.

The devil in his jealousy drives men to act like the wicked servant who seized by the throat one who owed him a trifling sum and cast him into prison because he could not pay at once. In the day of Judgment God will treat us as we have treated our neighbor. Of that day this Sunday's Mass warns us in our Lord's words: "The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king who would take account of his servants." At that time of justice pure and simple, He will be merciless like us if, during this life when He is all mercy to us, we have not learned to be merciful like Him. The wicked servant was delivered to the torturers. "So," says our Lord, "shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts."

The executioners to whom we shall be delivered by our Lord in His just anger against us, will be the powers of hell from whom He has protected us on earth, but whom He will then leave to indulge their hatred against us. It is enough to recall their rage against holy Job. Let us be on our guard against them, the more so, that this Sunday reminds us of the time when the devils will use their power against men with greater violence, since they will soon lose it altogether. “O Lord, Thou hast been our refuge from generation to generation; from eternity and to eternity Thou art God” (Gradual).