Today's Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35 Today’s gospel passage relates directly to the often-challenging theme of forgiveness. When Peter questioned Jesus about how often he needed to forgive a brother who had sinned against him, he asked in a way that inferred he was being generous in his forgiveness (“as many as seven times?”) Peter was probably shocked by Jesus’ reply: “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” As He often did with His followers, Jesus went on to illustrate His teaching by offering a parable. By sharing the story of the unforgiving servant, Jesus provided an object lesson that showed both the power of being on the receiving end of mercy, and the responsibility to afford that same compassion to those around us. The unforgiving servant was treated with mercy by his king. But when the time came for him to reciprocate with a fellow servant, he chose not to be patient with the man who owed him a debt. When his fellow servants heard that he had thrown his debtor in prison, they went to the king with the news and the king promptly had the unforgiving servant tortured until his debt was repaid. Today, as we remember the life and legacy of St. Patrick, we have much to learn from the man who not only forgave those who kidnapped and enslaved him, but who also returned to the land of his captivity to make known the Good News of the gospel. In my own life, as I ponder the weight of unforgiveness, I am acutely aware that when I choose not to forgive, I often harm myself more than the person against whom I have chosen to bear a grudge. My lack of forgiveness separates me from my Creator, the source of all love and mercy. Additionally, when I stay away from the graces of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I separate myself from the opportunity for oneness with God and the world around me. Let’s make today the day we choose to truly forgive and be forgiven.


Who do I need to forgive today, either overtly with words or writing, or in the silence of my heart?


St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, intercede for me today as I endeavor to reconcile with the world around me. May I truly forgive as Jesus taught, and may I seek and know the full extent of God’s reconciling love.
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