Forgiveness Is A Responsibility
September 17, 2023
16th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2023
Readings: Ecclesiasticus 27:30-28:7
Matthew 18: 21-35
Today’s Gospel sums up the things that God was teaching Peter, for him to really understand God’s principles. In the previous chapters, we find Jesus setting a pattern in the “Lord’s Prayer.” It was made very clear that since we have been forgiven, we are to forgive others. In Amos 1:3-5, “ This is what the Lord says: “For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not relent. Because she threshed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth, I will send fire on the house of Hazael that will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad. I will break down the gate of Damascus; I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven and the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden. The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir.” In the New Testament, Christ tells Peter that he was to forgive 70 x 7, which amounts to 490 times. This proves that forgiveness is limitless. In our world today, forgiveness, unfortunately, is not part of our lives. Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
In order for us to receive forgiveness, we must forgive. Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Forgiveness is a responsibility. If we have been forgiven by God, we must forgive others. In the parable today, a man owed his boss, 10 thousand talents, which is a huge sum of money. Since he was not able to pay, the master decided to sell him and his family so that he would somehow find the means to pay back the debt. The man fell on his knees and begged his master to be patient with him, so the master took pity on him, cancelled his debt and forgave him. If we were to translate 10 thousand talents, it would amount to almost 1 trillion pesos. This was how much the man owed the master. But after the man had been forgiven and went out, he sought a co-servant who owed him 100 denarii, which is equivalent to 296 pesos. When the other man could not pay back the 100 denarii, the man had him thrown in jail. He was forgiven by his master of his near-1 trillion debt, and yet he could not forgive a fellow employee who owed him 296 pesos. The master eventually found out and turned him over to the jailers. As the master who had forgiven the man who owed him 10,000 talents, God has forgiven us by paying a huge price in sending His only Son to redeem us. We owe so much to God and yet He has forgiven us. Because we have received His forgiveness, we must forgive others. He wiped our debts away totally.
We live out our lives as if we are the most important people in the world when we should be giving God all the honor and praise that’s due to Him. If we are not thankful and we do not forgive others, how do we expect God to forgive us? No one lives for himself. We live for the Lord. We account to the Lord. We should not get angry or upset when we have been offended. If God has forgiven us, then why can we not forgive those who have offended us? Psalm 103:2 “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” He pardons us, He heals us, He redeems us, crowns us with loving kindness and compassion, He renews our youth like an eagle. We need to understand the totality of our redemption. Christ bore the sins of the whole world. The challenge for us Christians is to forgive others.