Homily for Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Lent, Cycle A
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Holy Ghost Church – 8:00 Mass
Daniel 3:25, 34-43; Psalm 25:4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9; Matthew 18:21-35

Audio Recording


  • In today’s gospel Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother. Jesus gives a short answer, telling a parable to make sure his answer is understood. In the parable God is the king, and we are all the servants who owe the king a huge amount. 
  • Some translations refer to this huge amount as being 10,000 talents
    • How much is a talent? 15 years wages
    • He owed 10,00 times 15 years wages, or 150,000 years wages!
    • This is an amount none of us could repay even if we were to win the lottery
  • The point is that we are all in debt to God. Extreme debt. He created us and keeps us in existence and gives us every good thing we have, every talent and virtue. We owe God everything. He owes us nothing.
  • As the story progresses we learn that the servant, not being able to pay, falls to his knees and begs for more time so that he can pay back the debt.
    • Obviously, more time wouldn’t have done him any good. He simply wouldn’t have lived long enough to repay this huge debt
  • The king knows this well and offers him more than just time to repay it…he pardons the entire debt! He is merciful, he is kind and generous with the servant, just as he is with each of us.
  • When we turn to God and ask for forgiveness, he offers us much more than we could ever hope for. He knows that we are simply unable to repay the debt we owe him. He pardons our entire debt. 
  • God calls us to account for OUR sins in the hope that we will recognize HOW MUCH WE HAVE BOTH RECEIVED FROM HIM AND HOW MUCH WE OWE HIM so that we will ask for his forgiveness.
  • In the parable, after being pardoned, the servant does not treat HIS debtor in the same merciful manner as he was treated. He sends him to prison. His fellow servant owed him a much smaller amount of money, most likely just a few days wages. But he had no mercy on him even though he had just been forgiven 150,000 years wages!
  • The forgiven servant abused the liberty that he had just been given by not forgiving as he had been forgiven. He didn’t stop to reflect that in this encounter with his fellow servant that he himself should rightly be in slavery, sold along with his wife and children in order to pay his debt. 
  • That he is able to confront his fellow servant only because the king has had pity on him in the first place, giving him liberty. 
  • Yes, the offenses we suffer from our fellow men are real offenses, but before we demand justice we must stop and reflect that it is only because God has forgiven us our sins that we have the liberty to demand reparation from our fellow men. That reflection must lead us to have the same mercy on our neighbor as God has had with us.
  • Today let us ask the Lord to help us recognize how merciful he has been with us and how he has forgiven us the great debt we each owe him. 
  • Let us thank him for the many times he has given us a second chance. Let us ask him for the grace to practice mercy toward those who owe us or offend us, in the same way he has shown mercy to us.
  • Let us remember this especially whenever we pray the Lord’s Prayer saying “forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us.” 
  • May we always be merciful with and forgiving of others as God has been merciful and forgiving with us.