Because Fr. Joel is on pilgrimage, the following is a reprint of his article from Sunday, June 6, 2004.
There’s a story about a man who was to be discharged from the hospital run by the Sisters of Charity after a month-long confinement. “How would you pay your bill, with cash or card?” asked the kind nun. “I don’t have either of those,” was his reply.
The sister suggested that maybe his relatives can help him, but the man said that he had no relatives except his older sister who lives in New Mexico. He added that his sister is a spinster; in fact she is a nun. “Correction please, Sir,” the Sister retorted, “we nuns are not spinsters. We are married to Christ.” Feeling relieved and happy over what he just heard, he said to the Sisters, “Then would you please send the bill to my brother-in-law?”
Jesus paid the bill incurred by mankind’s sins by his death on the cross, and He continues writing off the debts we owe him through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In addition, he feeds us with His Body and Blood in the Eucharist to sustain us spiritually and physically. As we continue to ask for his assistance when our spiritual Visas and MasterCards have reached their credit limit due to our many sins, His grace is always available to help us recover.
Whereas business credit cards penalize us for overcharge on our purchases, the good Lord forgives and forgets the charges; in fact, He extends more help, that is, because of his limitless and boundless Divine Mercy. All we need to do is trust Him and be sorry for our sins. We should remember that God’s brand of management is different from ours; He doesn’t cut us down, but instead ifts us up.
Recall the woman caught in adultery in the Gospel? While everybody condemned her, Jesus saved her,, but at the same time warned her to amend her life. “Neither do I condemn you; from now one do not sin anymore.” (Mt. 8:11)
As we charge our spiritual bills to the Lord, he also charges us to take care of our neighbor’s debts against us. “forgive us our traspasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Do we really mean it seriously when we pray the Our Father?
We complain of so many things ranging from people’s attitudes, incompetence, faults, manners, personalities, events, objects, etc. We even question God’s existence when things go wrong. We doubt his goodness when millions of people are dying of hunger, live under poverty, and suffer through wars, and conflicts that rage on. People die of incurable diseases such as the epidemic of SARS, HIV, etc. We complain about rules and regulations, about the Church, the clergy. We complain endlessly about so many matters. But folks, at the end of our litany of complaints, God is telling us that it is we who messed up the world and will charge us to do something about our complaints. After all He created us so we can help fix it and clean up the trash. As the Lord forgives us our debts, He asks us to do the same to our neighbor.
Remember the parable of the unforgiving servant. “Moved with compassion, the Master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan… Should you not have pity on your fellow servant as I had pity on you?”
Peter asked the Lord, “How many time shall we forgive our erring brother, as many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you not seven time, but seventy times seven times.”
In the diary of St. Faustina in #1446, the Lord said to her: “ It shold be of no concern to you anyone else acts; you are to be my living reflection through love and mercy.” I answered, Lord, but they often take advantage of my goodness.” That makes no difference, my daughter. That is no concern of yours, as for you, be always merciful toward other people and especially toward sinners.
Fr. Joel De Los Reyes is a contributing writer for the U Matuna Si Yu’os