11th Sunday of Matthew

Gospel Reading: Matthew 18:23-35

Jesus discusses a parable in today’s gospel reading about a man who was in debt and went to his master pleading with him to show mercy on him. Instead of having he and his family sold and made to pay the debt, his master showed mercy on him, released him and forgave him the debt. However, some time later, that same man was in a situation where someone else owed him a sum of money. The man had him put in prison for not being able to pay his debt.

Christ continues explaining the parable, “Then his master 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 torturers, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

Christ puts it very simply- forgive others and you will be forgiven. It is very simple, but can also be very challenging in some circumstances to forgive someone when they have wronged or hurt us. Sometimes we may find ourselves in situations where our relationship with those who have wronged us are smoothened out on the surface, yet deep down we still hold onto grudges, or the remembrance of insults in our hearts. We need to be aware of this and work towards eliminating these feelings of discontentment from our hearts.

Our church gives us tools to help us forgive our neighbour when we are finding it hard to do so. Asking God for help and the strength to forgive is always encouraged when we can not do it on our own. Secondly, openly discussing this difficulty and pain in the Sacrament of Holy Confession, can help our healing by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and the words of guidance from our spiritual father.

St Theophan the Recluse says, “When you are forgiven you are received into mercy; and when you are brought into mercy, you have become a participant in all the treasures of mercy- salvation, and Paradise, and eternal bliss”. This is what Christ wants to give us when we forgive from our hearts.

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