STEP #1: LECTIO / READ
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.
STEP #2: MEDITATIO / MEDITATE
The Year of Mercy is more than halfway over. Reading today’s Gospel was kind of like a slap in the face. During this jubilee year I have been so focused on how I can better understand God's mercy. I have been going to different doors of mercy, from Indiana, to Chicago, to McHenry county. I have made it a point to go to Confession often, so I can experience God’s mercy. I have read about His love and mercy and prayed about it.
But there is one big thing I have not focused on. And that is how am I called to share God’s mercy with others. Particularly how am I called to forgive others. And man do I struggle with forgiving others. Yesterday, I shared a story about how my little brother pulled all the tags off my beanie babies when we were little. That story had to have happened 15 years ago, and it is so trivial. But I got upset with him all over again (even though he was probably less than 5 when it happened). If I got that upset about it yesterday, have I ever actually forgiven him for it?
This Gospel was a good reminder of how I too am called to forgive others. I am that servant who runs to the master to ask a large debt to be forgiven but can't forgive the small one when placed in front of me. Forgiveness is hard, but we are all called to forgive as the Father forgives.
When we don't forgive someone, it is not them who we are hurting or burdening. Instead it is ourselves. We take away our own joy and our own love. Holding a grudge in your heart is a fast way to separate yourself from God.
Go back and reread today’s Gospel again. Put yourself in the place of the first servant. Allow yourself to feel the love and mercy of God when he is forgiven. The read the part where the servant refuses to forgive. Look at your own life, who are you holding back forgiveness from? Who can you forgive today?
STEP #3: ORATIO / PRAY
"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.”
What grudges am I holding in my heart?
Who do I need to forgive?
How does not forgiving someone hurt my relationship with God?
STEP #4: CONTEMPLATIO / CONTEMPLATE
"Jesus, help me to forgive."
"I forgive _________."
"Open my heart to forgive."
FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAY...
Reflect today on your life. Who do you need to forgive? Write them a letter, you don't have to send it, but forgive them in your heart.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Lisa Kendzior.
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