Daniel 3:25, 34 – 43
Matthew 18: 21 – 35
Today’s first reading is a prayer for God’s mercy prayed by Azariah from the furnace into which he
was thrown for his faithfulness to God. He reminds God why he should be merciful. The reasons
are: may the contrite soul, the humbled spirit be as acceptable to you as holocausts of rams and
bullocks, as thousands of fattened lambs; they will be offered as our sacrifice to the Lord; we want
to follow the Lord wholeheartedly at east from now; those who put their trust in the Lord will not be
disappointed. Therefore we now put our whole heart into following the Lord. Azariah pleads that
we be not disappointed by the Lord; that he be gentle with us as he himself is both gentle and
merciful; he pleads for deliverance for the glory of his name. In short, it is a prayer for forgiveness.
He prays that the Lord may not withdraw his favour from us. He also reminds God of the
despicable condition we are all placed as no one can save us without God himself.
How apt to express the aspiration of our heart for forgiveness and mercy with the response,
‘Remember your mercy, Lord’!
The parable that Jesus then tells presents us with a man who was forgiven a huge debt.
Subsequently, when that man encountered a person who owed him a small debt, he failed to offer
the same forgiveness that was given to him. As a result, the master of that man who was forgiven
the huge debt becomes outraged and requires once again a full payment of the debt. And then Jesus
ends the parable with a shocking statement. He says, “Then in anger his master handed him over to
the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless
each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”
Note that the forgiveness God expects us to offer others is one that comes from the heart. And note
that a lack of forgiveness on our part will result in us being handed “over to the torturers.” These are
serious words. By “torturers,” we should understand that the sin of not forgiving another brings
with it much interior pain. When we hold on to anger, this act “tortures” us in a certain way. Sin
always has this effect upon us, and it is for our good. It’s a way in which God constantly challenges
us to change. Thus, the only way to freedom from this interior form of torture by our sin is to
overcome that sin, and in this case, to overcome the sin of withholding forgiveness.
If you still sense anger in your heart toward another, keep working at it. Forgive over and over. Pray
for that person. Refrain from judging them or condemning them. Forgive, forgive, forgive, and
God’s abundant mercy will also be given to you.
God bless. Have a blessed day.