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Sunday, September 11, 2005

“I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me."

Today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 18:21 - 35 where, in his righteous anger, the king told the unforgiving servant: “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?” During the homily today, our priest mentions that 10,000 talents was practically impossible for a servant to repay. So the king's mercy, when he had cancelled the debt earlier, was amazing indeed. But it isn't easy for any of us to forgive transgressions against us, especially the big, serious ones. And yet how could we not, when the Lord Himself is telling us: "forgive or else!" And this is not an unreasonable command. God has acted first by having forgiven us, first. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" His Son's mercy and compassion is not merely an example, but a promise: we will not be forgiving from the bottom of our heart only, but from the bottom of His. We will forgive not only by ordinary human love, great as the capacity might be, but by God's own extraordinary love, which He will put in our hearts Himself. Still on the topic of discipline of the Lord (Hebrews 12), when God cancels our debt, through the ransom paid for us by Christ on the cross, it doesn't end there. Forgiving others is one of the crucial messages that Christ wanted to get across to us. This, too, is for our own correction. It will be very painful for us to actually forgive others for their trespasses against us, but through that experience, our hearts are changed. In practicing love, we become more loving. In becoming more loving, we become more and more one with Christ.

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