Malvern Minute – Tuesday
Malvern Minute

 

March 21, 2017 – Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

Unless each of you forgives your brother and sister,

the Father will not forgive you.

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A Reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (18:21-35)

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
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.”

Reflect: So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother and sister from your heart. Peter thought he had forgiveness nailed when he asked Jesus, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Instead of a congratulatory pat on the back, Jesus shocks and challenges Peter by responding, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.”  In other words, Jesus is saying that we can never stop forgiving. That happens not only with an uttered, “I forgive you”; but, most importantly, it must be forgiveness that wells up from the heart, sincerely. Does it mean that it’s always easy? Usually it isn’t. Does it mean that I should overlook any injustice done to me? The pain may linger, but we turn the judgment over to Jesus. We hear so much about forgiveness during Lent and we have the ultimate example of Jesus who pronounced from the cross before his death, “Father, forgive them!” because unforgiveness destroys us and embitters the heart. Whether we forgive or struggle to forgive, Jesus, the Master, invites us to cling to his heart. That is the same heart that forgives us our sins. That is the Sacred Heart that shows us the way to the Father. Perhaps the most challenging human action we face in life is to forgive. That is because it is only possible when we perceive in divine terms – to forgive is divine! God shows us how to forgive by forgiving us. Let’s consider today: Do we want God’s forgiveness? If so, let us forgive the other from the heart.

Questions: Is there someone who I have refused to forgive? Even if I struggle to forgive that person, can I ask Jesus to forgive that person for me? Can I recognize how unforgiveness tears at my heart and makes me less than what God intended me to be? Do I want the heart of Jesus or that of the ungrateful servant?

Pray: Loving God, forgive me my sins and give me a heart that forgives as you do. Take away my refusal to forgive so that I can be free to love and be united with you forever. I ask this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful.

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ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)

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