Ezekiel 12:1-12; Psalm 78:56-59, 61-62;Matthew 18:21–19:1
Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you? (Matthew 18:33)
Have you ever been pulled into an argument as a mediator? If so, you may have found yourself wondering, “What’s the big deal here?” Both sides are heated up, and neither is willing to budge, but when you look at the issues from the outside, you have a hard time seeing why these two people can’t just forgive each other and move on.
We all know that it’s much harder to let go of a wrong when we’re personally involved. The parable that Jesus tells in today’s Gospel reading gives us a great example of this. “What is this guy’s problem?” we think. “He was just forgiven a huge debt, but he can’t give someone else a little time to pay back a small loan.” But before you write him off as a scoundrel, take a minute to put yourself in his shoes. Can you imagine your sense of justice and right clouding your vision, causing you to forget the mercy you have just received?
In truth, each of us is like this man. We have come to the King with an unpayable debt, and we have thrown ourselves on his mercy. And incredibly, he has pardoned us! We may be tempted to view the forgiveness we have received from God as somehow less personal or less costly than the forgiveness he expects us to show other people. But this just isn’t true. Our salvation cost God dearly—more than it costs a king who forgives a million-dollar debt. God gave up his only Son to set us free. And now he calls us to be just as merciful with everyone else. When we have been wronged, when we most want to demand our rights, this is when our forgiveness can shine the brightest.
The truth is, you really can’t come up with this miraculous mercy on your own. The best you can do is to pass on the same mercy that you have received from God. So the next time someone wrongs you or lets you down, remind yourself how much you have let God down. Remember, too, the costly personal mercy you have received from him. Then pass it on.
“Father, teach me to share the mercy you have so freely given to me.”~WAU