Gospel for Sunday, September 13: Matthew 18: 21-35
XXIV SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
21Then Peter approached him and said: “Lord, if my brother commits sins against me, how many times must I forgive him? Up to seven times?”. 22And Jesus answered him: “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23For this reason, the kingdom of heaven is similar to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24He had begun to settle the accounts, when a man was introduced to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25Since he was unable to repay, the master ordered that he be sold with his wife, children and everything he owned, and thus pay off the debt. 26Then the servant, prostrate on the ground, begged him saying: “Have patience with me and I will give you everything back”. 27The master had compassion on that servant, let him go and forgave him the debt. 28As soon as he went out, that servant found one of his companions, who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him by the neck and choked him, saying: “Give back what you owe!”. 29His companion, prostrate on the ground, begged him, saying: “Be patient with me and I will restore you.” 30But he wouldn’t, he went and had him thrown into prison until he paid the debt. 31Seeing what happened, his companions were very sorry and went to tell their master everything that had happened. 32Then the master called the man and said to him: “You wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt because you prayed to me. 33Shouldn’t you also have had pity on your companion, just as I had pity on you?”. 34Disdained, the master handed him over to his torturers until he had repaid all he owed. 35So also my heavenly Father will do with you if you do not forgive from your heart, each of you his own brother.”
Mt 18: 21-35
Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).
Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.
Today’s Gospel returns to the theme of reconciliation from last Sunday, but focusing attention on the duty to always forgive everyone, without ifs or buts.
Let us remember well: God’s forgiveness always precedes our reconciliation with others. But then he demands it cogently: the lack of peace with others will nullify God’s mercy. In today’s parable, a Master forgives an immense debt to one of his servants: ten thousand talents, an exorbitant sum; a talent weighs approximately 34 kilos, therefore 340 tons of gold or silver! But he is unable to forgive another servant’s small debt: one hundred denarii; the money is a farmer’s daily wage: in proportion to the first sum, a few pennies. Jesus concludes: “Then the master called the man and said to him: «You wicked servant, I forgave you all your debt because you prayed to me. Shouldn’t you also have had pity on your companion, as I had pity on you?”. And, indignant, the master handed him over to his torturers until he returned all he owed. So also my heavenly Father will do to each of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart” (Mt 18,23-35).
The Catechism states: “Now, and this is a terrible thing, the flow of mercy that comes from God cannot reach our hearts until we have forgiven those who have offended us… In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, the our heart closes and its hardness makes it impervious to the merciful love of the Father” (CCC, n, 2840). Only love of neighbor opens us to the love of God: only “he who loves knows God; he who does not love has not known God, because God is Love” (1 Jn 4,7-8).
Saint Paul says: “And even if I were to give all my possessions for food and hand over my body to boast of, but did not have charity, it would be of no use to me” (1 Cor 13.3): even if I were to do a thousand shifts of service to Mercy but I didn’t know how to forgive those who offended me or I held a grudge against someone, my commitment would be in vain.
Happy Mercy to all!
Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at email@example.com.