You will not be released until you have paid the last penny

The Gospel Reading from today’s Mass has important things to say on the subject of reconciliation that many might wish to consider:

Matthew 5: 20-26;

I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

The last line about not being released until you have paid in full is one of the Catholic Church’s Scriptural proofs for the existence of Purgatory. Jesus is apparently strongly implying that if you die still indebted for a wrongdoing, you will pay for it in the afterlife. Since there is an end to this punishment, it is not an eternal one like Hell, therefore a place of temporary punishment must exist.

That being said, even a place of temporary punishment is still punishment, and why undergo it if you can avoid it? Settle accounts now while there is time, make whatever amendments to those you’ve hurt while they’re still around to reconcile with.

Granted it isn’t easy, especially if there is a threat of rejection or of wounds being re-opened. But meditating on the possibility, “becoming willing to make amends” is a start towards this, and of lessening one’s time in Purgatory.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"