This Gospel story touches on a very important topic, the importance of asking for God to forgive us and, in return, sharing forgiveness and mercy with others. Peter begins by asking Jesus how many times we need to forgive others when they do us wrong. In response, Jesus offers us a formula for forgiveness that is radically different from the traditional understanding of Rabbinic teaching, which is at odds with the natural desire for self-preservation.  At this time in Jewish culture, the limit for forgiveness was three times, and the fourth offense was not to be forgiven. This rigid understanding of forgiveness made for many long-held grudges which created a  hardhearted environment and a spirit of unforgiveness among the faithful. At times we can view unforgiveness as the ultimate payback to someone who has wounded our hearts, but through forgiveness we encounter Christian freedom to learn to trust in the Lord. This Gospel teaching challenges us to view the world differently.

This parable tells us that God offers us forgiveness for the ultimate debt we could never pay back, the debt that comes from sin. In this Gospel story, the servant whose debt had just been forgiven went and choked his indebted servant, demanding him to pay back his debt in full, despite his own personal debt being forgiven. This action was unnecessary, cruel, and not rooted in love or the other person’s best interest. This news was reported back to the Master, reminding us that our actions and deeds are seldom done in secret. As a result, the Master recanted on his promise of mercy and had him tortured until he could pay back the whole debt. 

How often does self-righteousness blind our vision? How often do we hold back our forgiveness out of annoyance, a spirit of self-pride, or even self-righteousness? Sin blinds us to the consequences of our actions and causes us to lose perspective on the graces and mercy offered to us if we do choose to be merciful and spread this mercy and forgiveness to others. We do not forgive because it is easy, rather, we need to be inspired to forgive and show mercy because Jesus was merciful to us and showed us the way to true Christian freedom and happiness. 

The formula is simple: Jesus died for us, showed us true mercy and love, and introduced us to God the Father. And we are invited to do the same to others. Who do we need to forgive? Who do we need to seek forgiveness from so as to allow the loving graces that flow from the heart of Christ to touch our hearts and soften us to those around us?

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Daily Reading


Saint of the Day


Saint Ludovico of Casoria

The first part of Saint Ludovico of Casoria’s life was somewhat “ordinary,” but not the second. Having had what he called a mystical experience, he began establishing institutions for all kinds of people in need. He even founded two religious communities.