Daily Gospel Reflection – Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent Year C
Bishop Robert Barron
March 22, 2022
Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent Year C
Gospel: Mt 18:21-35
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 him 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 your brother from your heart.”
*United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, our Gospel today focuses on the gift of forgiveness. This is such an anchor of the New Testament and so central to Jesus’ ministry and preaching. When it comes to the offenses that we have received from others, we are, all of us, great avatars of justice. We will remember every insult, every snub, and every shortcoming when it comes to our being hurt by others. That’s why forgiving even once or twice is so difficult.
Forgiving seven times, as Peter suggests, is beyond the pale. Yet Jesus says to him, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” In other words, forgive constantly, relentlessly, and without calculation. Your whole life must become an act of forgiveness.
And this is why Jesus tells the parable in today’s Gospel. The man who had been forgiven so much should, at the very least, show forgiveness to the one who owed him so much less.
Here is the spiritual heart of the matter: whatever anyone owes you (in strict justice) is infinitely less than what God has graciously given to you; the divine forgiveness of you is infinitely greater than any forgiveness you might be called upon to offer.
Becoming an instrument of God’s life, grace, forgiveness, and peace is what it is all about. Allow to flow through you what has been poured into you—that is the whole story.