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Homily (Reflection) for Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent (1st March, 2016) on the Gospel

 
Dan 3:25.34-43;
Ps 24:4-9 (R. v. 6);
Matt 18:21-35.

Topic: If you want then....

In today’s gospel Peter asked Jesus how often one is bound to forgive his/her brothers and sisters, “As many as seven times?” Jesus replied, “Not seven times, but ... seventy-seven times.” Jesus goes further on forgiveness with the parable of the unforgiving slave. This slave that rightly earned the title of unforgiving owed the king ten thousand talents. A talent worth more than fifteen years wages of a labourer. And as he could not pay this huge amount he pleaded with the king for time. However contrary to his prayer, out of pity the king forgave him the debt. But as the slave stepped out he met a fellow slave who owed him a hundred denarii. Let us note that a denarius was a day’s wage of a labourer. He seized him by the throat saying, “Pay what you owe.” His fellow salve’s prayer for time fell on deaf ears. The unforgiving slave threw his fellow slave into prison until he would pay the debt.

Just imagine the big difference between what the unforgiving slave owed the king and what other slave owed him. He asked the king for time and got even what he did not ask for but his fellow slave asked for time and got imprisonment.

Other slaves reported the matter to the king and he summoned the unforgiving slave 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?” The gospel reads further,

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.

Think of how often we wrong God and run to Him for forgiveness. And we know that He forgives all who come to Him with sincere heart, cf. 2Chr 7:14; Jer 33:8; Ps 85:2; 1Jn 1:9. God wants us to forgive others just as He forgives us, cf. Col 3:13. One must forgive as many times as he or she is wronged, cf. Lk 17:4.

Lenten season is not just a time of receiving forgiveness from God but most importantly a time of giving forgiveness to others. Whoever fails to forgive piles up his or her sins against him/herself.

Bible Reading: Matt 6:9-15; Mk 11:25.

Thought for today: You will be forgiven if only you forgive.

Let us pray: Lord, remove from us the heart of stone and give us a new heart of flesh and a new spirit to enable us forgive others (cf. Ezek 36:26) – Amen.

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