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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)

17 August 2023

Mt 18:21-19:1 ..."Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?As many as seven times?"...

Mt 18:21-19:1


Peter approached Jesus and asked him,"Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt .At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.' Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,'Pay back what you owe.' Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,' Be patient with me, and I will pay you back. 'But he refused.Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison until he paid back the debt.Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you? 'Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart."When Jesus finished these words, he left Galileeand went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.


Imagine a situation where we live in constant debt. We have a debt to pay that will cover our entire lives. This is a difficult and painful vision, filling us with fear and uncertainty, because our whole life is dependent and subordinated to the debt we have to pay and the person to whom we have incurred the debt. Today's Gospel speaks of a servant's debt to his Lord. This debt is huge, so huge that the life of this servant and his entire family must be sold. And we know how precious our life is, something that cannot be compared to anything else. Here, however, the debt is so great that it is able to exceed the value of a human life. There is a value that surpasses our life in this world, something that cannot be compared to anything else. It is our salvation, the precious gift that God has given us by sacrificing the life of his Son on the Cross. His life for our life, His death for our salvation. In fact, we are born as debtors to God, with a credit of His grace, which we repay throughout our lives with our faith, love, conversion, and good Christian example. However, while the bank is not understanding and merciful towards us, God is understanding and, above all, patient towards our lives, especially when we delay paying our debt of love. What slows us down is our sin, our weakness, which effectively stops the multiplication of good and the development of love in us. However, God gives us a new chance every time we just try to improve, asking Him for patience. And we know from our experience that this patience is able to forgive even more than seventy-seven times our sin. God is so understanding with us. By forgiving us our weaknesses, forgiving us the evil we have committed, God requires from us at the same time the same attitude towards other people, especially those who owe us something. Just as God does not close his mercy in the confessional, so we should not close the door of our heart to forgive others. Just as God does not judge us for our weakness, neither should we judge others for their sins. Just as God is patient with us and forgives us for sometimes terrible things, so we should have the same patience with other people who hurt us often in the small, insignificant things of everyday life. The forgiveness of our debts by the Lord is not given only to us, but it is a test of our love for other people, our debtors. It is not good to experience mercy on your own and then close it to others. It is a behavior full of hypocrisy and ingratitude that provokes the wrath of God and brings us to damnation. The end of this story is sad, but fair at the same time. And I dare say that there is nothing to feel sorry for this servant, because what he did to his fellow servant, he did with full awareness and responsibility. Maybe we are unable to forgive someone's weakness because we do not understand God who forgives our weakness, we do not understand His mercy well, or we forget about it too quickly when leaving the confessional. This is how God behaves, who in his love does not shrink from human misery and weakness. In the same way, we should not withdraw our love from the weakness of other people whom God equally recognizes as his children and us as their brothers and sisters. Let us remember that we are not masters of someone's life, but, as today's Gospel says, servants. There is only one Lord to whom we owe a debt of love. We repay this debt not only through prayer, but also through a life full of love, kindness and forgiveness with other people, through whom God gives us every day a chance for salvation.

Father Marcin Cwierz, OSPPE

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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)  

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