A Great Debt of Gratitude
(see Mt 18:15-20)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Saint Paul, in the Second Reading, taken from the Letter to the Romans, gives us Christians his morally profound advice that we should owe nobody anything except a great debt of gratitude.
We, as children, owe our parents a great debt of gratitude for the gift of life. This is a happy life in a loving and caring family. It is in this family that we have grown up and become fully human, fully conscious of our dignity as human persons, enjoying our rights and duties.
The most significant among human rights is the right to religious freedom, freedom to worship God, our Creator and Savior. The worship of God is the very human act of profound gratitude to the Father in heaven Who made us in His image and Who saved us from sin and death by sending Jesus Christ His Beloved Son to suffer and die on the Cross and rise to life again.
Our duties mean that we are responsible for what we owe to God, to our friends and to society. We are duty-bound to render the best service of God, of family and of society. We should be committed citizens in the building of the kingdom of the earth, making it a clean and green home for the human family to live in. We should also be active builders of the kingdom of heaven where all peoples come and sing praises to God for ever for His great merciful love.
We are also duty-bound to help one another in living up to our Christian moral life. This duty consists of the two missions: first, the proclamation of Gospel-based values of which love is the heart and the soul; and second, the denunciation of all forms of violation of these values.
“Charity begins from home”, this means that we are charity-bound to proclaim Gospel-based values to our sisters and brothers, and to denounce wrongdoings that happen in our Christian family and community.
Correction of sisters and brothers who have done something wrong should not be merely angry or vindictive reactions, but it should on the contrary be an act of good intention to bring the wayward members back to God, and to the community.
Even when we have failed in our efforts to help our sisters and brothers to admit their wrongs and to repent of their sins, we should not cease praying for them and entrust them to the merciful love of God.
We just try to do our best and let the Lord God do the rest. Amen.
Fr. Francis Nguyen Van Nhut, O.P.