PRI Reflections on Scripture | Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
"Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
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 his brother from his heart."
When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee
and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.
It's clear that God presents Himself as generous, as loving, and as forgiving. And when a person really is conscious and understands their human weaknesses and failings and they experience that from God, it is not just the fact that they have been, in a way, freed of a debt, but they have been transformed. The problem in this story is the man who receives such a gift from God was completely untouched by it.
So the answer is to pay attention to who you really are and who God really is. And when you feel that relationship being the life giving relationship it is, you will want nothing more than to give the same to your brother and sister.
Father, your love is beyond measure, and yet often we are stingy with our love for others. Help us to feel the fullness of who you are so that through that experience we will grow to become more and more like you. Forgiving, understanding, compassionate. And we ask this in Jesus’ name.