Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?
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 Galilee
and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.
The peace of the Lord be with you. Jesus today reminds us that God is a God of mercy. God gives us every chance to look deeply at our lives, ask for his help, and be changed by His grace. In turn, we experience the healing power of forgiveness and are meant to offer this to others when they may offend or transgress us. This forgiveness, Jesus tells us, must come from the depths of our hearts — it cannot be just a series of words; it must be lived out and put into action.
Most of us know this is not easy, but it is necessary because resentments and hardened hearts negatively impact us on many levels and they keep us from being light in the darkness. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.