MARCH 9. LENT. WK. 3. LENT. MT. 18. 21-35
Updated: Aug 28
Peter went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.
‘And so, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’
Christian’s need to be extremely grateful for the teachings of today’s Gospel as it reveals a divine truth we are all going to be dependent on at our time of death; - namely the Merciful Love of Jesus Christ; - our Saviour and Redeemer.
Few of us enjoy acknowledging we are sinners, but one aspect of our judgement that we will have to deal with; - and it cannot be avoided; - is the Truth!
Fortunately, what Christ is teaching us today is that there is no limit to the number of times God is prepared to show us his Mercy and Love!
But there is a second revelation in this reading that is even more important, and that is that in order to receive God’s Merciful Love, we first have to show mercy ourselves to others!
This is an important teaching that we tend to “overlook” as it demands a generous and loving heart from us; - something that does not come easy because of our tendency to judge others.
The first servant in today’s reading illustrated this tendency beautifully, in that is primary concern was to look after his own interests; - and do we not do this ourselves; - frequently?
And what is also revealed is a total lack of concern, or compassion, for his fellow servant; - and how many of us can plead “not guilty” to this type of failure?
The third teaching of this Gospel is probably the most important of all, namely what will happen at our judgement if we fail to heed this message!
What we are being told, in essence, is that if we fail to show mercy to others, that God will not show mercy to us; - and how many of us will be prepared to argue that view to be unjust?
Gospel Acclamation Joel2:12-13
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!
With all your heart turn to me,
for I am tender and compassionate.
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!
First reading Daniel 3:25,34-43
Let our sacrifice to you today be a contrite soul and humbled spirit
Azariah stood in the heart of the fire, and he began to pray:
Oh! Do not abandon us for ever,
for the sake of your name;
do not repudiate your covenant,
do not withdraw your favour from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your friend,
of Isaac your servant,
and of Israel your holy one,
to whom you promised descendants as countless as the stars of heaven
and as the grains of sand on the seashore.
Lord, now we are the least of all the nations,
now we are despised throughout the world, today, because of our sins.
We have at this time no leader, no prophet, no prince,
no holocaust, no sacrifice, no oblation, no incense,
no place where we can offer you the first-fruits
and win your favour.
But may the contrite soul, the humbled spirit be as acceptable to you
as holocausts of rams and bullocks,
as thousands of fattened lambs:
such let our sacrifice be to you today,
and may it be your will that we follow you wholeheartedly,
since those who put their trust in you will not be disappointed.
And now we put our whole heart into following you,
into fearing you and seeking your face once more.
Do not disappoint us;
treat us gently, as you yourself are gentle
and very merciful.
Grant us deliverance worthy of your wonderful deeds,
let your name win glory, Lord.