GOSPEL READING: Mt 18: 21 - 35
Then Peter asked Jesus, "Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother or sister? Seven times?" Jesus answered, "No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
"This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven. A king decided to settle the accounts of his servants. Among the first was one who owed him ten thousand gold ingots. As the man could not repay the debt, the king commanded that he be sold as a slave with his wife, children and all his goods in payment.
"The official threw himself at the feet of the king and said, 'Give me time and I will pay back everything.' The king took pity on him and not only set him free but even canceled his debt.
"This official then left the king's presence and he met one of his companions who owed him a hundred pieces of silver. He grabbed him by the neck and almost strangled him, shouting, 'Pay what you owe!' His companion threw himself at his feet and asked him, 'Give me time, and I will pay everything.' The other did not agree, but sent him to prison until he had paid his debt.
"His companions saw what happened. They were indignant and so they went and reported everything to their lord. Then the lord summoned his official and said, 'Wicked servant, I forgave you all that you owed when you begged me to do so. Weren't you bound to have pity on your companion as I had pity on you?' The lord was now angry, so he handed his servant over to be punished, until he had paid his whole debt."
Jesus added, "So will my heavenly Father do with you unless each of you sincerely forgive your brother or sister."
I forgive the offenses of my brother or sister? Seven times?" Jesus answers, "No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." Jesus stresses that our forgiveness of others must have no limits. And to illustrate the forgiveness expected of us, Jesus gives the parable of the unmerciful servant, who was forgiven by the king and yet refused to forgive his fellow servant..
We pray in the Lord's prayer, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." We hope we really mean what we say.