Friday, August 21, 2009

Forgiveness Has Just Become a Bit Easier

Gospel ReadingMatthew 18:23-35 11th Sunday of Matthew
The Lord said this parable: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, 'Pay what you owe.' So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailors, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to everyone of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

The ability to forgive others is one of the most difficult tasks of any Christian. It seems everywhere we turn someone has done something to us or said something to us or about us that genuinely hurts. This is the most painful when we are hurt by our closest friends or family members. For some reason unknown to us it is easier for us to forgive complete strangers, maybe because we don’t expect anything better from them or is it that we expect so much more from our own loved ones?

In the Gospel Christ gives us great comfort in our struggle to forgive each other. He wants us to consider how much more we have been forgiven; more than we have even asked. The servant who owed 10,000 talents (a huge sum of money) simply asked for patience to repay the debt. In return the master forgave the entire debt as an act of mercy. Not a day goes by when each one of us doesn’t do something, however small, that causes pain to a friend or family member or complete stranger. Many times we let these “small things” pile up until we are so embarrassed we can’t even show our face at family or Church functions. It is just then that we think we cannot possibly be forgiven but when we find the courage to ask for “another chance” to show how much we care, not even expecting forgiveness but for a fresh start, our mothers and fathers brothers and sisters come running to us and embrace us with such great love that our body feels warm inside.

The next time we are faced with the opportunity to forgive somebody, let’s not forget how much we have been forgiven by others and by God. Forgiveness comes a bit easier when we take the time to remember we were forgiven first.

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