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Today's Gospel + short theological explanation

Tuesday 3rd of Lent

Gospel text (Mt 18,21-35): Peter asked Jesus, «Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother or sister? Seven times?». Jesus answered, «No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven. A king decided to settle the accounts of his servants. Among the first was one who owed him ten thousand gold ingots. As the man could not repay the debt (…), the official 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.

»This official then left the king's presence and he met one of his companions who owed him a hundred pieces of silver. He grabbed him by the neck and almost strangled him, shouting, ‘Pay me what you owe me!’. His companion threw himself at his feet and asked him, ‘Give me time, and I will pay everything’. The other did not agree, but sent him to prison (…). Then the lord summoned his official and said, ‘Wicked servant (…), weren't you bound to have pity on your companion as I had pity on you?’ (…)».

The Parable of the merciless servant (pardon is only effective for those who can forgive)

EDITORIAL TEAM evangeli.net (based on texts by Benedict XVI) (Città del Vaticano, Vatican)

Today, with the perspective of “the great pardon” of God which Jesus invokes and reaches on the Cross, we understand that only through forgiveness can an offence be cleared, and that forgiveness can only be effective in those who on their turn also forgive (so we express when praying the “Lord’s Prayer”). Forgiveness appears continuously through the entire Gospel.

God, taking the initiative, came to meet us in order to reconcile humanity with Him; to achieve forgiveness He paid the price of descending to the miseries of human existence and to death on the Cross. As contrast comes the “Parable of the merciless servant”: this servant had been forgiven the incredible debt of ten thousand talents, however soon after he wasn’t willing to forgive the absurd debt of one hundred denarii, that the other man owed him. Anything we must forgive each other is always small in comparison with the mercy of God who forgives everyone!

—O Lord, help me to remember often your prayer on the Cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.