Daily Gospel Reflection - Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
Bishop Robert BarronAugust 11 2022
Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin
Gospel: Mt 18:21 – 19:1
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.
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches the necessity of constant forgiveness. Forgiveness is an act and not an attitude. It is the active repairing of a broken relationship, even in the face of opposition, violence, or indifference. When a relationship is severed, each party should, in justice, do his part to reestablish the bond.
Forgiveness is the bearing of the other person’s burden, moving toward him, even when he refuses to move an inch toward you. There is something relentless, even aggressive, about forgiveness, since it amounts to a refusal ever to give up on a relationship. Simon Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus replies: “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” Christians should never cease in our efforts to establish love.
Jesus’ own startling practice of forgiving the sins of others emerges as one of the distinctive and most controversial elements in his ministry. And both rhetoric and practice reach their fullest expression when the crucified Jesus asks the Father to forgive those who are torturing him to death. We speak the truth because Jesus is the Truth; we forgive because he forgave.