Divine Mercy Minutes with Jesus is a pocket... Read more
By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Mar 17, 2009)
Readings: Dan 3:25, 34- 43; Mt 18: 21- 35
"So will My heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from the heart." Mt 18:35
Before we can be merciful to others, we must receive mercy ourselves. We must experience it. We will know this is true when we are filled with gratitude for the mercy that has been shown us.
The official in today's Gospel did not allow himself to experience the benevolence of the king. Rather, he was a selfish seeker of mercy. He was forgiven his debt, but he expressed no sign of gratitude. The king's action did not affect his heart. It remained hardened So, not knowing mercy himself, he could not to be merciful to others.
It is easy for us to live with the hardhearted attitude of the ungrateful official. For, when we are slighted by family, friends, or co-workers it can be very difficult for us to let go of the injustice done to us. Yet, as Christians, we know that God has granted us forgiveness through the Passion and death of His Son. Sometimes we can take that for granted by thinking that we have a right to heaven, rather than seeing heaven as a gift granted to us through the power of forgiveness.
Every time we harden our heart and refuse to forgive another, we close the doors to heaven. However, every time we forgive another and confess our sin of unforgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God reopens the doors.
Today, Jesus calls us to forgive our neighbor up to 7 x 70 times. That's 490 acts of forgiveness. That is extreme forgiveness! How are we to do that? The answer is to ponder what Jesus did for us through His Passion and also to remember what it feels like when we receive forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The greatest need we have as human beings is to be forgiven. That's why Jesus' greatest work of mercy on our behalf is the forgiveness that He offers to us from the cross. Experience this mercy yourself — and don't forget to share it with others.
Lord Jesus, give me a humble spirit of gratitude for the mercy You have shown to me. Soften my heart and always help me to be ready to show mercy towards my neighbor, especially through acts of forgiveness. Amen.