Then Peter approaching asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.' Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, 'Pay back what you owe.'
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?' Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart."
For Christians, who believe in God as the Creator of the world, it should be self-evident that solidarity and justice cannot apply only to “our family”, “our country”, “our culture”, or “our religion”. If we want to justify this Christian attitude toward other cultures and religions without using faith-based arguments, we can best explain this universal demand for solidarity and justice by reminding people of their claim to freedom: I am free when I myself can determine what I do and how I live. Now if I myself want to be free, then I should grant this also to my fellow human beings, from the perspective of justice and of the fundamental equality of all human beings. Just as I do not want anyone in the world to determine my fate, so too I must acknowledge that no one else wants me to determine his fate. One speaks in this context of a general right to a reasonable explanation. Everyone has a right to have laws, to which he will be subject, be explained in a reasonable and intelligible way.
Followers of Jesus must be people of mercy, for they have found mercy and mercy has found them.
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.
Mary was more than a merely passive instrument of God. The Incarnation of God took place through her active consent as well. (493–494, 508–511)
When the angel told her that she would bear “the Son of God”, Mary replied, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1,38). The redemption of mankind by Jesus Christ thus begins with a request by God and the free consent of a human being—and a pregnancy before Mary was married to Joseph. By such an unusual path Mary became for us the “Gate of Salvation”.
I don't care about my past anymore; it belongs to Divine Mercy. My future does not concern me yet; it belongs to Divine Providence. What I care about and demand is today. But that belongs to the grace of God and the devotion of my good will.
At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them - do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!"
And he told them this parable: "There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, 'For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?' He said to him in reply, 'Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.'"
Man is responsible for everything he does consciously and voluntarily. (1734–1737, 1745–1746)
No one can be held fully responsible for something he did under coercion, out of fear, ignorance, under the influence of drugs or the power of bad habits. The more a person knows about the good and practices the good, the more he moves away from the slavery of sin (Rom 6,17; 1 Cor 7,22). God desires that such free persons should be able to take responsibility for themselves, for their environment, and for the whole earth. But all of God’s merciful love is also for those who are not free; every day he offers them an opportunity to allow themselves to be set free for freedom.
We like to play innocent. During Lent we should take off our masks. Admit a weakness that you secretly suffer from to another person in the coming week.
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