Today’s gospel is about the core importance of Christian forgiveness.
Peter went up to him and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.’
‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt.
‘Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt.
‘And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’
The lesson at the heart of this parable is the fantastically large debt owned by the first servant: one talent (rather than 10,000!) corresponds to 20 years of a labourer’s wages. The second servant owns a mere 100 denarii which is a 100 days of a labourer’s wage.
We all are in debt by 10,000 talents because of the infinite atonement that was required to wipe away our sins. We could never have our sins paid for apart from Jesus sacrifice on Calvary. When we understand this our gratitude for Jesus’ atonement (at-one-ment) should make us very quick to forgive the wrongs of others. If we hang on to petty grievances then we haven’t really appreciated what Jesus did for us.
This can be a tall order if we’ve been deeply hurt. What matters most of all is that we keep trying to do the right thing.
We adore you O Christ and we praise you for by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.