Memorial of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe
First Reading: 12:1-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 78
Gospel: Matthew 18:21-19:1
The parable of the unforgiving servant. This is one of my favorite parables in the gospels. I think that it is because there are so many different characters in the parable that I can relate to. I think that the one that I have often seen reflected in my own life is the role of the unforgiving servant. After you read this parable, stop and think....have I ever been like this guy? This servant is forgiven a huge debt from his master. Then this weasel goes out and chokes someone who owes him money and then has the other guy thrown in jail because he cannot pay. Perhaps we should blame this one on short term memory loss. We tend to read this parable and think wow, who would do such a thing? But how many times have we been guilty of not having the same compassion for others as someone may have had for us? What is the one thing that might have saved this servant from making this huge mistake? Forgiveness.
In the gospel today we are told of the importance of forgiving our fellow person as many times as it takes. This is a pretty tall order for us, dare I say that forgiveness is not something that comes easily or naturally to us. I think that when Peter first approached Jesus he was probably thinking; okay, what is the most amount of times that I have to forgive someone and still get to heaven. I am sure that the response that Jesus gave was not the one Peter was looking for. In fact from this gospel, we find out that we really need to stretch ourselves in the forgiveness department. Now we are talking about both small and large matters here. Forgive the person who accidentally bumps into you a few times...sure, easy as pie. Forgive the friend or family member who lies and betrays you time and time again causing lots of feelings of hurt and anger each time...not so easy now. How are we to do this forgiveness thing that we are called to? I mean, doesn't Jesus know human character? Doesn't he know that we are really fragile and this is hard for us? Why does he ask us to forgive and open ourselves up to the pain and hurt again?
Well, Jesus does know us all too well. He knows that this is not easy for us, but he knows that in order for us to heal and come closer to Him, then we must forgive first. Forgiveness for me has been a way of letting go of previous hurt and pain. It has allowed me to get past the issue or situation and heal from that. Now I am not saying that I always do this immediately or that I have the perfect system down, because I am far from being an expert in this area. I do speak from experience when I talk about the healing power that comes from Christ when we allow ourselves to forgive. I also know that we should not expect immediate results, some anger and bitterness we have been carrying around for many many years, this usually takes time to let go of. I pray that we all can offer up our pain and suffering to Christ and allow him to work in our lives to help us heal.
We are asked to forgive others as many times as it takes. The parable of the unforgiving servant shows us that we are to have compassion in our hearts for others, as the Father has had compassion for us. Let us let go of anything that is holding us back from serving Christ with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Father in heaven, we ask for your forgiveness for all our our sins. Help give us the strength to forgive our fellow brothers and sisters as you ahve forgiven us. We pray for all those struggling with past hurt and pain, and for all those who are struggling in their faith. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.