Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (18:21-35) where Jesus shares the parable of the unmerciful servant.

Fr Paul says, this is a favourite parable of Matthew, and it continues and concludes his theme that forgiveness is the life’s blood of any Christian community. Matthew gathers together into one chapter the special teachings about the community of the disciples, and half of it concerns quarrels, offences and disagreements. In short, we simply cannot live together without upsetting one another, either deliberately or unwillingly. Forgiveness is the vital step, and real forgiveness cements a relationship, leaving it stronger than it was before the offence.

Fr Paul says, the parable expands and stresses the petition in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others.’ Like so many of Matthew’s parables, this one revolves around contrasting characters, we have the ‘goodie’ and the ‘baddie’. The contrast between the two sums of money is deliberately fantastic: the first slave owes millions of dollars, a sum no private person could ever repay, let alone a slave. It is more than a year’s tax for a whole Roman province. The second though owes a couple of months’ wages of a casual labourer.

For today’s reflection, Fr Paul invites us to consider these questions: ‘As our Lenten journey continues who do I need to forgive and what do I need forgiveness for?’.