Working with the Word

Focusing the Gospel

Key words and phrases: moved with compassion, master . . . forgave him, he refused, should you not have had pity … as I had pity

To the point: The king did not do what the servant begged: “Be patient with me.” Instead, he immediately forgave the whole debt. Absolutely unthinkable!

This overwhelming, unexpected, compassionate forgiveness of the king makes the servant’s behavior toward his fellow servant all the more despicable. It also helps us understand Jesus’ response to Peter’s question about how often we are to forgive one another.

God’s forgiveness of us knows no limits and is always granted. Anything less is our forgiveness of one another brings the same judgment against us that Jesus renders against the “wicked servant.”

Connecting the Gospel …

… to the First Reading: The reading from Sirach asks, “Could anyone refuse mercy to another?” Yes! The servant in the gospel did. And so do we—all the time. But, never God!

… to experience: Grudges among families, communities, nations are often passed on from generation to generation. For example, family feuds go on for decades during which time members do not speak to each other. The only thing that can break the cycle of hate, fear, and disunity is the gift of forgiveness.


**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson