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Holes in your pocket?

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sermon for the twenty-second Sunday after Trinity

“Mind your own business!”

We could hear these very words from this ungrateful servant as we watch him clutching his fellow by his throat and demanding his due from the one who can’t pay him.

We could hear those very words from the king when the other servants complain at the actions of this man.

Just what business is it of ours to get involved with other people’s debts?

Should we, and those fellow servants, just turn a blind eye to what’s going on?


The trouble with debts is that they behave very much like actual money in your hand. You probably already know that banks buy and sell the debts of their customers, just like they invest real money in other places. You probably know that the last Financial Crisis and the Recession were caused precisely because too many people were unable to fulfil their debts so that larger institutions couldn’t pay, which meant that banks were unable to move money about. It’s all very complicated but it has a real and devastating effect. Debt matters.

Debt matters in much the same way as the butterfly effect matters. A butterfly flapping its wings in an English Country Garden could set off a chain of events which results in the next typhoon in Indonesia. Things are more connected than we think. Things are more connected than we would like them to be. Sometimes our business is not just our business.


The Lord makes a very clear link between Debt and Sin.  Remember that Evil is an absence of Good, just like Light is an absence of Dark. Good is the thing that really is because God declares it of all creation to be good. God Himself is Good and God is more real than we can ever know because God is the cause of all things. Likewise, Debt is an absence of something: it’s something owed – a sort of hole. Neither the ungrateful servant nor the fellow he terrorises can pay back the debt. Why not?

In order to fill a hole, we need something to fill it with. Debt only goes away with sufficient credit. Evil only goes away if you fill it with Good. The trouble is that there is not enough good in us to repay our debt. All creation is like it. There is nothing that we can do or say or think that will destroy Evil. We can only cast it out and then, like the demons of Legion, it must find the nearest herd of pigs to go into. We can’t generate good.

But God can. This is why He becomes one of us to give us His own self to be the payment of the debt. This isn’t a debt owed to anyone but a hole cause by our rejection of God. He fills that hole with His own life blood, filling the gap of Evil with a surfeit of Goodness but only if we accept it. God gives us the Good with which to plug the holes of Evil. God gives us the money to pay what we owe by taking the debt away in Himself.


And this is our act of service in the world. We receive God’s real presence and active goodness in each of the sacraments that He has given His Church. We are to use that good to help others with their debts, not move those debts around by demanding payment. This is why the other servants are so distressed: the actions of the ungrateful threaten their lives. Every time we sin, we introduce more Evil into the world. Our every action, good or evil, affects others.

This is why we must forgive: we are all in the same boat and one leak affects us all. We forgive so that we can all be forgiven and that Evil can be removed through God’s grace. We forgive because we are beings of Love, of Goodness, of Truth, of Justice and of Mercy. We were not created to be creatures of Hate, Evil, Lies, Rebellion and Unforgiveness.

Our destiny is with God in Eternity of perpetual Goodness. All our Evil will be removed, all our sadness turned to joy and all that is wrong within us put right. But we have to want that, and not reject it all through sin.

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