Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
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.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
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.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
The Mass intention is for Breda M’s intentions (5pm Vigil Mass), Lesley Griffin Covid-19 RIP (9.30am), Mgr David Forde’s 90th Birthday (11am).
“You cannot give what you do not have”, goes a saying. Strangely, the forgiven servant in today’s Gospel failed to forgive his debtor. By failing to forgive, he showed little understanding of the mercy shown to him by his master. Indeed, as the First Reading (Sirach 27:30-28:7) mentions, “The vengeful will suffer the Lord’s vengeance, for he remembers their sins in detail”. Sirach also reveals the very simple maths of mercy: “Forgive your neighbour the hurt he does you, and…your sins will be forgiven.” There are moments though that it is hard to forgive. However, Fr Jacques Philippe, a renowned spiritual director, tells us: When we find it too hard to say “I forgive you,” we too must turn to the Father and say those words of Jesus, “Father, forgive him – or forgive her – because he (or she) doesn’t know what he (or she is doing.”…To forgive, we have to go through the heart of the Father. This is the source of forgiveness. It is not me; it’s the heart of God, and that’s where I have to go looking for forgiveness”.
- How easy or difficult is it for you to forgive?
- How do you deal with situations when it is hard to forgive?
- When was the last time you asked God to forgive those who hurt you?
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word today. One with you, we ask the Father to forgive those who have wronged us because they do not know what they are doing. Amen.