Faith Daily | 11 August 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p570
Grant to us, Lord, we beseech you,
the spirit to think and do always such things as are right,
that we, who cannot do anything that is good without you,
may by you be enabled to live according to your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 18: 21 – 19:1
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[b] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[c] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Carol Streatfield
Jesus, being a great teacher was a story teller and had a flair for the dramatic: a slave owing 10,000 talents … ?!! Given that a denarius was about a day’s wages for a labourer, and a talent equivalent to 6,000 denarii, i.e. >15 years wages, 10,000 talents would have brought a laugh from the audience. The thought that some master would have forgiven such a debt out of mercy would have brought another laugh. Perhaps the image of a master, and ‘heavenly Father’ handing a merciless labourer over to torture would be a more likely scenario, in their less than compassionate age.
But what was this forgiveness about, that Jesus was trying to impress upon his audience? And why? Lack of forgiveness spoils one’s life. Aren’t we good at harbouring grudges, or finding fault with others who have trampled on our dreams or aspirations? If only they hadn’t …, or, if they would just stop …. Why should we forgive, or ask for forgiveness, and how do you do it, anyway?
To ask for forgiveness requires that we admit at least that we were part of the problem. (Not the whole problem, of course, but, ok, part of it.) It takes courage, and taking one’s pride in both hands (which is enormously difficult) and stepping into the other’s personal ground, hoping that your admission of guilt and sorrow will be accepted, and that forgiveness will be forthcoming. Why is this a good idea? Because it heals. It heals the one asking for forgiveness, and it heals the relationship. It lifts the burden of pain and anxiety from both shoulders and allows those involved to move forward into a mended future. Inviting Christ into the process brings an element of safety and lightness and sometimes unexpected outcomes. Jesus was trying to move them out of their meanness.
FINAL PRAYER Final Prayer by Ramon Beeching in Pocket Celtic Prayers
The Night Flees
I hear the breeze;
The Spirit moves,
The dark night flees
and God approves;
Christ, God’s own Son
takes my confession.
With him I’ll run
I’m his possession.