THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT (MT 18:23-35)
O Jesus, fill my heart with the Holy Spirit of mercy towards others.
Picture Jesus with His disciples.
The parable is about the Last Judgment and highlights the deepest secret of discipleship, the need to forgive. The warning is serious. God, who has granted the disciple forgiveness, will revoke that forgiveness if the disciple does not forgive others. Everything is at stake.
The parable offers a unique comfort. If we forgive others, then God’s mercy extends beyond this world to the Final Judgment.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
(Scene 1) The Kingdom of heaven is like a King who decided to settle all his accounts. One servant owed him ten thousand talents. The King wanted his family and his goods sold so payment could be made. The servant said, “Have patience with me and I will pay everything.” Moved with pity, the king forgave the debt.
(Scene 2) When this servant left, he found his fellow-servant who owed him a hundred pence. Laying hands on him, he said, “Pay what you owe.” The fellow-servant, prostrating himself, said “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” However, he would not. Instead, he threw him into prison until the debt was paid.
(Scene 3) The other servants were very grieved and told the King what had happened. He called the servant and said, “Wicked servant, I forgave you the entire debt when you asked me. Should you not, then, have compassion on your fellow servant as I did on you? Filled with anger, he handed the servant over to the torturers until he paid all. So shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)
- An “accounting” always represents the Final Judgment. For the true disciple, this Final Judgment will be filled with mercy.
- The first disciple claims that he will repay the master. However, the amount he owes is so astounding that he will never be able to gather the money.
- He seeks only a reprieve, a postponement of the accounting. Instead, the King forgives the whole debt unconditionally.
- Although forgiven, the disciple does not imitate the King’s forgiving generosity.
- Jesus’ conclusion is clear. The Final Judgment will be a time without mercy unless “You forgive your brother from your heart.”
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- Jesus, You have revealed the great secret of receiving mercy on Judgment Day.
- Lord, may the moment of that judgment be always before my eyes.
- Let your word, O Lord, penetrate my heart!
- Teach me to forgive from my heart.
- Open my eyes! You are always patient with me and your compassion overflows.
- Jesus, let me hold no one in my debt. Then, I will also be set free.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
+ Today, I will think only of God’s patience and mercy to me
+ I will show forgiveness to everyone.
Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.)
Moved with compassion, the King forgave the whole debt.