Today’s Gospel, Matthew 18:21-35 is a story of mercy and forgiveness.  It recalls one of the beatitudes of Jesus:  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.

In our story today, a man is shown great mercy by his “master”.  Yet, when one of his servants finds himself in a similar need of mercy from him, he shows none.  When his master finds out, he hands him over until he makes restitution for his debt.

The teaching here is two-fold.  First, it is an invitation for us to recall God’s tremendous patience and mercy with us, as we experience our “debt” fully and freely paid by Jesus.  See Sundays reading from Romans 5: 8; But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

So, with regards to this first point, it is helpful to spend some quiet time reflecting on one’s own personal journey.  Here, it would be helpful to ask the Holy Spirit to guide your prayerful reflection, helping you see when and where God has forgiven you.  Then, spend some time being truly grateful to God for such mercy, and grateful to Jesus for His great act of love in dying for our sins.

The second point is that as we have experience this tremendous gift of God’s mercy in our life, we are to be as patient and forgiving with the people in our lives.  As we all know, this can sometimes be a true test of our love…but that is to grow in our humanity…to grow in love.  It is also to grow in our image and likeness of God. 

If in this reflection, you realize there are relationships still in need of mercy and forgiveness, especially on your part, may I suggest taking time to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  This is one of Jesus’ greatest gifts to His Church, the real possibility to concretely speak our sins before a priest, and to hear in the words of the priest in the formula of absolution that we are forgiven.  The presence of Jesus in this Sacrament and the power of His grace truly heals the human heart, and lays a strong foundation for our ability to help heal other broken relationships.

Indeed, blessed are the merciful!