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Thursday, August 16, 2012

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St. Stephen of Hungary

Ezekiel 12:1-12
Psalm 78:56-59, 61-62
Matthew 18:21—19:1

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"i can't get no satisfaction"

"One was brought in who owed him a huge amount." —Matthew 18:24

The original Greek of Matthew's parable sheds light on the great difference between the two debts Jesus discusses. The first servant owed the master "a huge amount" (Mt 18:24), a term which translates to over 100,000 years' wages. The second servant owed "a mere fraction" (Mt 18:28), amounting to about one-hundred days' wages in the Greek. The second debt could realistically be repaid, while repayment of the first debt was impossible.

It was ludicrous for the first servant to contend that he could actually pay the master back 100,000 years' wages (Mt 18:26). He was out of touch with reality. The realistic response would be to fall on his knees and beg for complete mercy (see Lk 18:13) rather than beg for the opportunity to repay his debt, which was impossible (see Ps 49:8-9). Yet this servant wanted to be justified through his own actions. Out of pity, the master forgave the debt. However, the first servant still hadn't changed his mindset or his heart. His approach was still to satisfy debts through payment, not a write-off. So he arrested the one who owed him a debt (Mt 18:30).

If we attempt to justify ourselves with God by our efforts, we will fail (Gal 5:4-5), we won't want to forgive others (Mt 18:30), and we condemn ourselves to be damned (Mt 6:12, 15; 18:34-35). Let's never lose sight of how much God has forgiven us — even for a moment. Then let us totally lose sight of what others have done to us. Let us live to forgive, and forgive so as to live.

Prayer:  Father, I accept Your grace to forgive from my heart and with my mind everyone who has hurt me. Bless them with peace.

Promise:  "I have made you a sign." —Ez 12:6

Praise:  St. Stephen, king of Hungary, prepared himself for battle with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
(For related teaching, order our leaflet, Unforgiveness is the Cause, or our tape Unforgiveness on audio AV 41-1 or video V-41.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 30, 2012

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