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August 11, 2022

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Gospel: Matthew 18:21—19:1
Then Peter asked him, “Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother
or sister? Seven times?” Jesusanswered, “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.” When Jesus had finished these sayings, he left Galilee and arrived at the border of Judea,
on the other side of the Jordan River.

Reflection:

How do we understand the psychology of the servant who was forgiven much, but maltreated his own
servant who owed him much less? I suspect that he felt humiliated and his narcissistic ego was
deeply wounded by the public forgiveness offered by the King. First of all, he hadn’t asked for forgiveness;
only for a little more time to pay off his debts. Instead, he was forgiven generously and totally. But such
forgiveness can birth gratitude only in a heart hat is characterized by humility and openness to the other.
In egoistic hearts, it creates only humiliation and self-hate, which must be transformed into hate for the
other. And given that he could not take it out on the King, he had to displace the hatred to an inferior over
whom he had command. Such souls can only end up in self-made prisons of inner suffering, sadly so.

© Copyright Bible Diary 2022

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