Third Week of Lent – Tuesday
Reading: Matthew 18:21-35
Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy seven times.
‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed his one hundred denarii, and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.”Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him 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?” And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should 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.’ Reflection
During this Lenten season we are asked to reflect deeply on our lives and how they reflect the gospel message of forgiveness and mercy. We are asked to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge before God any failure to totally forgive anyone in our lives whom we perceive may have offended us. We are asked to offer total, unconditional forgiveness to all people and to build right relationships with each other. ‘As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility and meekness, and patience.’ (Colossians 3:12) There must be no resentments, bitterness, retaliation, grudges. We are asked not to keep a score of the ‘wrongs that have been done against us’ but to ‘be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.’ (Ephesians 4:32) We are reassured that ‘if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’ (Matthew 6:14) We are asked to come to God in humility and to ask him to open our eyes to our own inner blindness about our failures in these areas so that our sight may be restored and our sin may be healed. ‘The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in merciful love.’ (Psalm 103:8) He expects us to offer the same forgiveness to each other. In all our relationships, we are asked to ‘clothe ourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.’ (Colossians 3:14) If this is the loincloth that we wear, our world will know God’s peace and healing and all people will be one. We shall respond to the invitation of Christ when he says, “be holy yourselves in all your conduct, for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16)
Lord, I thank you for your unconditional forgiveness, May I learn from you and lay aside any un-forgiveness, bitterness or resentment that separates me from anyone. Heal my sin O Lord and make me whole.
I make this prayer in your name O forgiving God, Amen.