Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made.
So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt.
When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt.
So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
When praying with today’s Gospel, my heart dwells on the phrase, “falling to his knees.” I consider the connotations of the word “falling”: a weakening, abatement, and vulnerability. However, through prayer, I see its deeper implications of strength, rising, and love. Jesus’ “falling to his knees” in the Garden of Gethsemane strengthened his heart and prepared him before the night of the Crucifixion. Jesus’ most vulnerable moments were the greatest acts of strength and love.
To hear the Lord and feel the movements of the Spirit within our hearts, we open ourselves up to vulnerability before Christ, a falling-on-our-knees experience. In the Gospel today, we see that openness of the heart is the gateway to forgiveness and strength between the master and servant. We, too, must remember to acknowledge the falling-on-our-knees with our neighbors to transform the falling into rising and the vulnerability into forgiveness, strength and love.
—Lisa M. Sroka coordinates retreats and designs marketing materials for Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL. She is a Chicago vocalist and alum of Loyola University Chicago.
“I get on my knees. I get on my knees. There I am before the Lord that changes me. I don’t know how but there’s power. I don’t know how but God gives me power. I don’t know how but there’s power, when I’m on my knees.”
—Lyrics from “On My Knees,” sung by Nicole C. Mullen.Please share the Good Word with your friends!