“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 seven times seventy-seven times.” Peter must have thought that was unfair. This happened before Jesus willingly gave his life for the world’s salvation. This is before he reaffirmed the two great commandments of love for God and love for neighbor.
Jesus then tells Peter and the apostles the parable of the King, who calls a servant to account for the large debt he owes him. After the King forgives him of his debt, the servant finds another servant who owes him a much smaller debt and shows no mercy or forgiveness. Peter and the apostles would soon understand the full meaning of the parable.
The virtues of mercy and forgiveness tie together the Old and New Testament reading. In the Old Testament, Azariah prays for the three in the fiery furnace and the whole Jewish nation. He asked the Lord to have mercy on the chosen people and forgiveness of their sins. King Nebuchadnezzar recognizes a fourth man in the fiery furnace that looks like the son of God. Perhaps, Jesus was with us throughout history, especially in our trials and sufferings.
This is what Saint Peter Julian Eymard emphasizes in “The Real Presence.” He speaks about propitiation for the sins of mankind as part of our adoration. That is what Jesus did, and this is a way we join Jesus in his sacrifice. Not only for our sins but for the sins of the world.
For we are reduced, oh Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins. We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader, no holocaust, sacrifice, oblation, or incense. No place to offer first fruits to find favor with you. But with contrite heart and humble spirit, let us be received as though it were holocausts of rams and bullocks or thousands of fat lambs, so let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly; for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame. And now we follow you with our whole heart, we fear you, and we pray to you. Azariah’s prayer in part (named Abednego by the Babylonians)
Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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