September 17, 2017
Mt 18:21-35

The fine print

When’s the last time you had to sign a legal document? A mortgage or car loan? Maybe a cell phone contract or credit card application? Whatever agreement you signed, you probably read it thoroughly to be sure you knew just what you were getting into. When money changes hands we’re naturally cautious. Who knows what penalties we’d have to pay if we didn’t understand the document?

What about your “contract” with God? Oh sure, you’re pretty familiar with the terms: salvation to all who ask, answers to prayer, forgiveness of sins. But wait, have you read the “disclaimer” about forgiveness? Jesus tells us that we are forgiven ONLY if we forgive our brothers and sisters. If we fail to forgive others, all our sins will be held against us. It’s sort of an “unlimited sin-back guarantee.” Phew. A pretty stiff penalty for some of the silly grudges we hold. Let’s take today’s gospel as a reminder to forgive and forget any harm done us by friends and family alike. Otherwise we’ll miss the free gifts offered, while our hearts are stuck in anger’s fine print.

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A truly healthy heart

How many of us spend every day counting the calories that go into our mouths, watching our cholesterol, our sodium intake. We are obsessed with physical health and hope to live longer by being more cautious. But are we equally  concerned about what comes out of hearts? Where are the counters for lies, anger, impatience, profanity, envy and all the other sins which Jesus would identify as corrupting our spiritual health? Today we read of the Pharisees with hand washing, while their hearts lay muddy and tattered. They too were monitoring the wrong things. Stop and ask yourself today: Am I watching the right elements to build a truly healthy heart?