SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST                             

This is the day the LORD hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.                                                

Genesis 50:15-21 Romans 14:5-9 Matthew 18:21-35 Psalm 19:7-14 and 103:1-13      

While I sat here this evening preparing this, I wondered why the servant whose massive debt was forgiven was so ready to demand repayment of the debt he was owed by his fellow servant. I would think he'd be walking on air after his interview with the master, whose mercy gave him a new lease on life. But he's not, somehow, his heart is full of bitterness. I'd like to speculate that unforgiving servant, far from being filled with gratitude that his debt was forgiven, was filled instead with humiliation at having had to beg for mercy from his master. Perhaps his motive in demanding repayment of his fellow savant's debt was to effect a plan of repaying the master after all.      

What a surprise then to learn that God's forgiveness is not based on justice, but on divine mercy. How often are we to forgive others? Neither the seventy-seven times nor the ten thousand talents mentioned in the parable can begin to describe God's generosity.       Only through the lavish grace and mercy of God are we able to forgive others. Our hearts cannot grasp such abundant and self-giving love. We rejoice that God forgives us even when we are not merciful to others. Perhaps in the end it is not only about our ability to forgive, but about the gospel large enough for all of us and a God who mercy know no limits.      

Christian friends, Do we really believe that we are forgiven, that our transgressions have been blotted out? Or do we resist God's mercy? And do we not then take out this sense of shame, unworthiness, and doubt upon others.? Are we unforgiving, because we do not really believe that we have first been forgiven?  

O LORD, it hurts when I am wronged,                                                                          It robs the joy from living;                                                                                                  But LORD, You bore my sin and shame,                                                                       So help me be forgiving.  

PRAY with me. O God, without whose blessing we are not able to please You, mercifully grant that Your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and govern our hearts; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our LORD, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen