Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, priest and martyr
(Ezekiel 12:1-12; Matthew 18:21-19:1)
Love is at the center of the gospel, but not any kind of love. No, Jesus testifies to God’s forgiving love by his cross and resurrection. Humans have always sinned against God, particularly by their injustice to one another. Jesus came as the just human who never sinned. In fact, his goodness extended to the giving of himself completely for the sake of humanity. God raised Jesus from the dead as an acknowledgement that the myriad offenses which humans have committed have been forgiven. Those who give themselves to Jesus are re-created, dead to sin and alive with his goodness.
The followers of Christ in turn must exhibit the same forgiving love of God by forgiving one another. The parable of today’s gospel illustrates that human forgiveness of one another is a mere shadow of God’s forgiveness, yet some refuse to do so. They hold others to strict account for everything done to them like the airline which charges for everything from allowing baggage to providing water. The first debtor having been forgiven a huge sum should have been more than willing to forgive his own debtor of a trivial amount. His refusal to do it shows that he is not in the company of Jesus, that he remains outside the new creation.
Often enough we are asked to forgive a debt of another that in no way is trivial. Perhaps a drunk driver killed our child. The person sobers up and begs our forgiveness. We do not feel at all like saying, even in our prayer, I forgive that one. In this case, let’s pray for the grace to be more like Jesus, to say, “My love for you, my God, surpasses my abhorrence for what has been done to me.”