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Sunday, September 16, 2001

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24th Sunday Ordinary Time

Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14
1 Timothy 1:12-17
Psalm 51
Luke 15:1-32

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the hell of unforgiveness

"He set off for his father's house. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was deeply moved. He ran out to meet him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him." —Luke 15:20

The prodigal son's older brother did not forgive his brother. The older brother was angry (Lk 15:28). He excluded himself from the family's celebration of his brother's return (Lk 15:28). He was so alienated from his father that he refused to call his father "father" (see Lk 15:29-30). The older brother did not see himself as a beloved son but as a slave of his father (Lk 15:29). Although everything the Father had was his (Lk 15:31), he felt deprived and could not recall receiving even a kid goat from his father (Lk 15:29). The older brother refused to acknowledge his brother as his brother. He referred to him as "this son of yours" (Lk 15:30). Finally, he accused his brother of blowing his inheritance on "loose women," although he had not talked to his brother to receive that information (Lk 15:30).

If we don't forgive, "all hell breaks loose" — anger, alienation, family breakdown, self-pity, false accusations, gossip, and other "tortures" (see Mt 18:34). If we don't forgive, we are lost and on the road to death (see Lk 15:32) and self-destruction. Receive God's grace now to forgive everyone for every sin committed against you.

Prayer:  Father, forgive me as I forgive those who keep trespassing against me (Mt 6:12).

Promise:  "You can depend on this as worthy of full acceptance: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." —1 Tm 1:15

Praise:  Praise the risen Jesus, the God of forgiveness, mercy, and love!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, February 13, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 20, 2001