3/14/2023 (Tuesday) Today’s gospel reading: Matthew 18:21-35
21 Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
23 That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
24 When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
25 Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt.
26 At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
27 Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.
28 When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’
29 Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
30 But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt.
31 Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair.
32 His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
33 Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’
34 Then in anger, his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.
35 So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”
3/14/2023 (Tuesday) Today’s gospel reflection: Matthew 18:21-35
When Peter suggests that we can forgive others up to seven times, Jesus immediately shot down the proposal and urged him to forgive as many as seventy-seven times. That means forgiveness should be unlimited because our Father does not also limit the number of times that He forgives us.
Then Jesus goes on to tell the parable of a king who forgives. Actually, most Bible editions call it the parable of the unforgiving servants. However, for the purpose of this reflection, let us focus on the king. He was a just but merciful king. He knows exactly what accountability means – that each man and woman must give accounting to his or her actions, that anyone who owes something must necessarily pay it. Yet, His mercy is overflowing. When one of His servants fell down on his knees to beg for mercy, the king relented and gave the servant another chance. Unfortunately, the servant was not as merciful as the king.
The gospel reading above is calling us to be like the king. Every debt must be paid yet it is imperative to be merciful and give others a chance. Jesus has emphasized at the last verse: just as our heavenly Father is merciful and forgiving, let us go forth and do the same to others.