Faith Daily | 22 March 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 486
Lord God, our Redeemer,
who heard the cry of your people
and sent your servant Moses to lead them out of slavery:
free us from the tyranny of sin and death
and, by the leading of your Spirit,
bring us to our promised land;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 18: 21-35
21Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. 23“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Alan Dann
To focus on verses 21 to 35 unfortunately skips over the remainder of chapter 18; that is, verses 1 to 20 which are filled with insightful and sometimes very difficult teachings.
In dot points
Jesus is asked “who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven” and the answer unless you become like a humble child you will in no way enter the Kingdom.
Then if you cause a child to stumble you need to be drowned with a millstone around your neck.
Then if your foot offends cut it off, likewise your hand and eye (gouge it out)
Then the parable of the lost sheep. One strays and the shepherd leaves the 99 and goes in search of the one that is lost
Then there is teaching on dealing with sin and confrontation especially amongst church groups.
All in 20 verses! The common thread being that we should throw away balanced judgement in place of all-out effort to save, reconcile and forgive.
No effort is too great in caring for the young.
We should risk all when searching for the lost, and
No effort is too great when smoothing troubled waters in the Church.
Then we get to verse 21 and following, dealing with the parable on the unmerciful servant, debt recovery compromise and forgiveness, teaching forgiveness when dealing with the ability to repay debts when they become due. The parable deals with forgiveness and reconciliation rather than imposition of hard justice. Even in 18th and 19th centuries people who could not repay debts were thrown into prison until their debts were paid. Not much chance of repaying debts if the debtor is in chains! It is better to draw a line in the sand and work on compromise forgiveness and reconciliation.
Much food for thought.
FINAL PRAYER: David Adam “Clouds and Glory”
Lord, we pray that your church may be welcoming and open.
Let us draw others to you by your love and understanding.
May we be a support to the weak in faith,
a strength to the wavering, and uplift the fallen.
Let us not be judgemental, and yet let us stand firm in our love
for you and for your will.
Teach us to be forgiving towards others
as we seek forgiveness from you.
We pray for the outreach of your church,
for its mission to seek out the lost and recover the fallen.
Lord, as you gave your life for us,
help us to give our lives to you.