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."
+Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit~~~ Veni Sancte Spiritus! Pray slowly and invite the Holy Spirit into your very soul, your mind, your being. Receive Him by being open and obedient to Him and to His promptings. You will know if you are, because of the peace of heart you will experience. (Recall that Lectio Divina is a very simple gaze on Jesus) .
"Peter approached Jesus and asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?" I love this moment as Peter 'approaches Jesus' he comes closer to Him, he finds the courage to ask a very human question and one that he hopes has some limit it can be contained to; 7 times (albeit that number signifies perfection). There is an intimate moment here, between Jesus and Peter. Peter offers the answer along with the question, almost to get a 'grasp on it' humanly. But Jesus isn't to be 'contained' nor anticipated. Gods love cannot be calculated, nor anticipated. It is always greater than we possibly imagine. "I say to you, not seven times but seventy seven times." What is Jesus saying to us? What is He teaching us? Could it be perhaps, that there are certain actions flowing from the heart, that must never counted nor measured nor calculated nor exhausted, it can never be 'too much'. The miraculous work of replenishing our soul and filling it with an even greater capacity to love and forgive, is within our reach, there for the asking, if we but approach Him and ask for the grace. In order to forgive we need Grace! In order to forgive seven times, we need great Grace! In order to forgive seventy seven times, we need the Giver of Grace! We need Jesus. We need Jesus living in us- and this is called living in the state of Grace, in God's friendship. It is a source of great comfort and Peace and help. Do I go to Him and receive Him in Holy Communion? Do I commune with Him then and often during the day, and during the week? Do I ask Him how to handle some problem, or how to work with a co-worker who is difficult, do I ask his help? Do I approach him with humility and confidence? Am I aware of what has been forgiven of me? Am I aware of the Love and Mercy given to me? Where in my life, do I need to forgive? Who do I consider 'undeserving of forgiveness and why ?"
Prayer: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."
Second Point: "Moved with compassion the Master of that servant let him go and forgave the loan" In this particular part of the Gospel and as we read further, we see what seems an unrealistic goal of the servant (to pay back the loan in its entirety) and we see the Masters awareness and understanding of the servants position. (that the servant isn't aware of his poverty-how incapable he is of ever paying it off) There is something so beautiful and powerful in this Love. The servant doesn't even grasp how much Mercy is being given to him, because he is still holding the position that he will 'pay it all back' . Pride is preventing him from recognizing and realizing (making real) the gift bestowed. He hasn't reached a clarity of his littleness and poverty. But the Master has and in His love isn't even waiting for the servant to understand, he just forgives. This is you and me. Do we realize our poverty? How utterly incapable we are of giving to God what is His justice and how utterly generous he is with us constantly today and each and every day?
Can I not receive this gift of Mercy and so allow it to flow through me to others? What does it take for me to accept Mercy? and so give Mercy?
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ Son of Living God have mercy on me a poor sinner, a poor sinner who loves you. Amen.
"Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?"
Our "fellow servant" doesn't always come with the 'announcement' that he is the 'one' to forgive and to have mercy upon. Quite oftentimes he is annoying, or frustrating, or so much a part of our daily life, it is easy to expect and demand justice from him. We often treat others in the manner we treat ourselves. Do I recall that like me, he is struggling each day, trying to do the right thing and falling constantly, perhaps its so staggering to him/her, that he/she has put up a facade in order to become less discouraged. We do not know what our brother/sister goes through, we only know what our heart bears in a single day. It would be fair to say, that as human beings we share many of these same feelings and struggles. Who is my 'fellow servant' that I am called to forgive today, not in 'half-measures' ' but fully? I remember my Postulant Mistress in the Missionaries of Charity, her name was Sr. Pietra. She was from Naples Italy She was wonderful. Her definition of 'forgiveness' always remained with me', she said; 'forgiveness means I trust you again.' What is stopping you from trusting the other? From giving them another chance?