Letters, PFJ Action, Reflections

A Parishioner for Justice Gospel-like Parable

With the gospel parable from the Twenty-Fourth Sunday of the Year still fresh in our minds, PFJ presents for your reflection an adapted and challenging version of the Gospel parable of the “unforgiving servant” created by one of our members. It does what all homilies are meant to do, translate the message of our Lord and Savior to an individual’s situation in life. May it confront all who read this parable with the real challenge of living out the Gospel on a daily basis. As Scripture commentator Mary McGlone has said: “Remember, Jesus used stories to throw the listeners off-balance. The parables were specifically designed to help folks trip over their own self-righteousness, to remind them of God’s sovereign freedom.”

 

A Parishioner for Justice Gospel-like Parable

 

Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a Papal Nuncio who was sent to ensure that the bishops in the land were serving the Church and the people of God with compassion and charity. When he began his review, a bishop was brought before him who had been accused of public drunkenness, inappropriate management of funds, bullying, outbursts of uncontrolled temper, and excessive pride. Since these failings were a matter of public record, the Nuncio ordered that the bishop be banished to a monastery to live a life of penance and prayer while his possessions were given to the poor. At that, the bishop fell down and prostrated himself before the Nuncio and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will mend my ways. I will no longer bring scandal to the church but will devote my energies to restoring the faith of the people.’ Moved with compassion, the Nuncio of that bishop let him go and forgave him his indiscretions.

When that bishop had left, he found one of the priests of his diocese who had been accused of accepting a gift. He attacked him and demanded of him, ‘Renounce your priesthood and seek laicization.’ Falling to his knees, the priest begged him, ‘I only seek to serve my people and be with them. In truth, there has never been a suggestion of impropriety that can withstand scrutiny. Consider the facts.’ But the Bishop refused. Instead he initiated an investigation to try to fabricate a case to discredit the priest and shame him. 

Now when his fellow priests and the people saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their Nuncio and reported the whole affair. The Nuncio summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked bishop! I forgave you all your indiscretions because you begged me to. Should you not have pity on your priests as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger, the Nuncio handed him over to the Congregation for Bishops to have him stripped of his authority and be banished to a desert abbey. 

So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

 

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