Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.“ For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.
When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt.
But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.
Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
As a kid, when I would fight with my brothers, my parents would sit us in a corner until we made up. I remember I would always rush to a quick and sheepish apology, ¿me perdonas? (do you forgive me?). The faster the apology, the sooner we could go back and play.
As we get older, forgiveness has become a lot more complex. I find it a lot harder to ask for forgiveness, and at times even harder to grant it to others, or even myself. Today’s gospel invites us to reflect on who may need forgiveness in our lives. Might it be a loved one, a colleague, or might I need to forgive myself? This time of Lent is an opportunity to practice the act of mercy more deeply, with God, ourselves and those around us.
How is God inviting me to forgiveness? Whom do I need to seek forgiveness with: God, myself, others? What way can I practice mercy today?
—Marcos Gonzales, a Jesuit scholastic of the California province, is completing his masters of social work at Loyola University Chicago and interning with the Cook County Juvenile Probation Department.
Merciful God, heal and strengthen my heart. Be present within all my relationships, especially
with those whom I find it hard to forgive. Give me only your love and your grace, especially
the grace of mercy towards those I love. Forgive me and heal my spirit. Amen.
—The Jesuit prayer teamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!