3RD WEEK OF LENT
Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him.
When artists plan their paintings, they think of how to situate every shape and shadow to draw viewers’ eyes exactly where they want them to focus. At the same time, artists will include other details that help tell a larger story. Today’s Gospel is one example of this: Jesus’ parable draws our attention at first to the unmerciful servant who seems to be at the center of the action. But there is another figure in the story who is even more important: the king, who shows the servant great kindness and mercy.
What can we say about this king? He responded with compassion to the servant who owed him an immense amount of money. He didn’t just give the man more time to pay it back; he wiped the slate clean (Matthew 18:27). As we later learn, this merciful king is like God, who wants his mercy toward us to be an example of how we should treat others.
That’s easier said than done, right? We might set out to be forgiving, but it’s hard to follow through when someone hurts us, knowingly or not. It’s even more difficult to forgive the same person repeatedly if he or she hurts us repeatedly (Matthew 18:21-22). Yet as we get to know God’s character and reflect on his mercy toward us, we might find that his compassion moves us over time to become more merciful to the people around us.
One of the best ways we learn about God’s mercy is by reflecting on the Scriptures. Take today’s responsorial psalm, for example. The psalmist uses words like “compassion,” “goodness,” and “kindness” to describe the Lord (Psalm 25:6, 7).
Today, choose one of these words and reflect on it. Have you experienced God’s compassion or goodness or kindness for yourself? How are you experiencing it now? Let these experiences stay with you and help soften your heart each day so that it becomes more like his—a heart full of mercy and always ready to forgive and wipe the slate clean!
“Father, I want to be merciful as you are merciful. Give me a heart like yours.”
Daniel 3:25, 34-43
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