Peter’s question about forgiveness in today’s gospel ( “How many times must I forgive my brother?”) isn’t just his question. He’s asking the question for all of us.
Measure your forgiveness by God’s forgiveness, Jesus says to Peter. It’s beyond measure, and he gives Peter and all of us a story of two servants. Both are involved in a money operation gone wrong. As we know money brings out the worst in people.
There’s a big difference in the money owed. The first servant owes ten thousand talents, a huge sum, and in a unexpected display of mercy, his master forgives the entire debt.
After being forgiven so much, however, that servant sends off to debtors prison another servant who owes him a few denarii, a small sum. The ten thousand talents his master has forgiven him would be worth about 10 million denarii. Big difference!
The story isn’t our only teacher, however. God’s unmeasurable forgiveness finds its greatest expression in the passion and death of Jesus: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” he cries out from the cross. He pleads, not for one, or a few, but for the whole world. Jesus reveals the mercy of God beyond measure.
We’re called to measure our forgiveness of others against his.
Lord, let me hear your call for forgiveness from the cross,
and let me make your call mine.