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September 17, 2023

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Gospel: Mt 18:21-35
Then Peter asked him, “Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses
of my brother or sister? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “No, not seven

times, but seventy-seven times. This story throws light on the kingdom of Heaven: A
king decided to settle accounts with his servants. Among the first of them was one
who owed him ten thousand pieces of gold. As the man could not repay the debt, the
king commanded that he be sold as a slave with his wife, his children and all his goods,
as repayment. The servant threw himself at the feet of the king and said, ‘Give me time,
and I will pay you back everything.’ The king took pity on him, and not only set him free,
but even canceled his debt. When this servant left the king’s presence, he met one of
his fellow servants, who owed him a hundred pieces of silver. He grabbed him by the
throat and almost choked him, shouting, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ His fellow servant
threw himself at his feet and begged him, ‘Give me time, and I will pay everything.
’ But the other did not agree, and sent him to prison until he had paid all his debt.

Now the servants of the king saw what had happened. They were extremely upset,
and so they went and reported everything to their lord. Then the lord summoned his
servant and said, ‘Wicked servant, I forgave you all that you owed me when you
begged me to do so. Weren’t you bound to have pity on your fellow servant, as I had
pity on you?’ The lord was now angry. He handed the wicked servant over to be
punished, until he had paid the whole debt.” Jesus added, “So will my heavenly Father
do with you, unless you sincerely forgive your brothers and sisters.”

READ: The reading from the Book of Sirach reminds us that we are called
to both request and offer forgiveness. We have all been hurt and have
hurt others. In the Gospel, Jesus tells his listeners that a forgiving heart is
characteristic of the disciple. Paul caps off the description of a disciple by
reminding us that everything we do, we do for the Lord.

REFLECT: It could be very easy to misunderstand today’s readings as
claiming that God’s love and mercy are conditional, that God won’t forgive
us unless and until we forgive others. But this is not correct. Even before we
realize that we have sinned, God has forgiven us. He is waiting for us to seek
his mercy. But forgiving others helps to prepare our hearts to receive that
mercy. When we refuse forgiveness to those who have hurt us, our hearts
are hardened and will not let God’s love enter. By forgiving others, we soften
our hearts like how the farmer prepares the spring soil, ready to receive the
seed of mercy that will bear fruit in our lives.

PRAY: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

ACT: Extend forgiveness to someone who has hurt you.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2023

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