“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.” - C.S. Lewis: (1898 – 1963: was a British novelist, poet, & academic)
Gospel Text: (MT 18:21–19:1)
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
"Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?"
Jesus answered, "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.
Pope Francis declared 2016 “A Year of Mercy” to remind us that mercy should be a defining characteristic of every Christian, of every truly religious person, and indeed of every human being. Each of us has a mission of mercy. Each of us is to be a living sacrament of God’s merciful love in the world. It is the fundamental calling of our lives. And that is because God has been endlessly merciful to us. God’s mercy is the gift that makes all of us equal and all of us one. God’s mercy is the foundation of our lives. This is why to withhold mercy—to refuse to offer it whenever we can—is not only unjust to another, but also a blasphemous insult to God.