Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35
Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother or sister? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
“This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven. A king decided to settle the accounts of his servants. Among the first was one who owed him ten thousand gold ingots. As the man could not repay the debt, the king commanded that he be sold as a slave with his wife, children and all his goods in payment.
“The official threw himself at the feet of the king and said, ‘Give me time, and I will pay you back everything.’ The king took pity on him and not only set him free but even canceled his debt.
“This official then left the king’s presence and he met one of his companions who owed him a hundred pieces of silver. He grabbed him by the neck and almost strangled him, shouting, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ His companion threw himself at his feet and asked him, ‘Give me time, and I will pay everything.’ The other did not agree, but sent him to prison until he had paid all his debt.
“His companions saw what happened. They were indignant and so they went and reported everything to their lord. Then the lord summoned his official and said, ‘Wicked servant, I forgave you all that you owed when you begged me to do so. Weren’t you bound to have pity on your companion as I had pity on you?’ The lord was now angry, so he handed his servant over to be punished, until he had paid his whole debt.”
Jesus added, “So will my heavenly Father do with you unless each of you sincerely forgive your brother or sister.”
Our gospel for today is from Matthew 18:21-35 where we find a powerful message from Jesus. This message is about forgiveness in that challenge us to reflect on the boundless mercy of God. It also measures our own capacity to forgive. In Matthew 18:21-35, Peter asks Jesus a question. “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” In response, Jesus shares a parable. This parable teaches us about the limitless nature of forgiveness.
Jesus made it clear to tell us that it is not only seven times that we must forgive someone, rather limitless. Jesus wants us to understand that forgiveness should have no boundary. The truth is difficult to handle when we know how hard it is to forgive someone. It is very easy to tell others to forgive but in reality, it is too difficult. This is where Jesus tests our capability to forgive.
Matthew 18:21-35 is trying to teach us to handle our emotions and forgive others as Jesus did to us. As Christians, we must contemplate and try to fix ourselves in which way we can forgive others. It might be difficult but it is somehow satisfying as well. Our hearts hardened but if we pray always, it will soften as it heals. Then, it will be the time to give our forgiveness.
Matthew 18:21-35 challenges us to contemplate the boundless forgiveness of God. It is our responsibility to extend that forgiveness to others as well. As we reflect on this gospel, let us remember that forgiving others is not a finite act. It is rather a continuous journey, a reflection of God’s endless grace towards us. May we find the strength and courage to forgive others as Jesus forgave us. If we do so, we experience the freedom and peace that come with it. – Clea | Helpline PH