We can’t live without God’s mercy

Friends in Christ, as we move toward the half-way point in Lent, we are given this gospel today about God’s mercy, about forgiveness.
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Because of our sins, which offend the infinite goodness of God, we acquire a debt that we cannot possibly pay; if we could see with supernatural eyes the goodness of God, we would die of horror at even our small sins, not to mention our mortal sins.
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Jesus teaches us that God WILL forgive our sins, even this great debt – but we must forgive others too. ‘If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive men, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you.
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St. Peter asks Christ, ‘how many times must I forgive someone?’ He suggests to Jesus, ‘maybe 7 times, we should forgive them?’ It was Rabbinic teaching that a man must forgiven his brother three times. Rabbi Jose ben Jehuda said, ‘If a man commits an offense once, forgive him; if he commits it a second time, forgive him; if he commits it a third time, forgive him, if he commits it a fourth time, do not forgive.’ So Peter thought he was being generous. He takes the Rabbinic teaching and doubles it, and adds an extra; but Jesus’ answer is that the Christian must forgiven 70 times 7 times, meaning: there is no limit.
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So Jesus tells this parable; I think it is unfortunate, that in this english translation, they have left out the numerical amounts, which are presenting the Greek. In the parable, the first servant owed his master 10,000 talents. That was over 10 million dollars. William Barclay tells us that at the time of Christ, even a wealthy province like Galilee had a total revenue of only 300 talents! Yet this servant’s enormous debt is forgiven by is master. This is the debt we owe to God, and he will forgive it in the Blood of Christ.
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Yet this man in the parable refuses to forgive the tiny debt that his fellow servant owed him, 100 denarii, about twenty bucks. If we seek God’s mercy, we ourselves must be merciful, and how can we live, without the mercy of God?

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