The parable Jesus speaks in today’s gospel reading has two clear messages. The first and most important message relates to God and the second relates to ourselves. The parable declares that God’s forgiveness is boundless. The first servant owed ten thousand talents, which is an astronomical sum of money. It is the kind of debt that could never be paid.
We might think of the debt that some of the developing countries owe to the International Bank. The king in the parable simply canceled the debt in response to the pleading of his servant. He allowed mercy to completely override justice. Jesus is giving us an image here of God’s mercy. We always come before God in desperate need of his mercy and God pours out his mercy in abundance upon us in response to our cry.
As Pope Francis has said, Jesus reveals the face of God to be Mercy, a mercy that is immeasurable. We constantly live in the grace of God’s abundant mercy. The second servant owed this first servant whose debt was canceled two hundred denarii, about two months of wages. This is a manageable sum that could have easily been paid off with a bit of time.
However, the first servant would not give his fellow servant the time he needed and had him thrown into prison. He could not pass on even a fraction of the abundant mercy that had been showered on him. As a result, he lost the mercy he had been shown.
The parable is saying to us that there is an onus on us to pass on some of the extraordinary mercy we have received. When God graces us he looks to us to grace others with the mercy that has been so generously given to us. Amen
Fr John Peter