A Father’s Patience

The Gospel Today
Memorial of Saint Clare, Virgin
Matthew 18:21–19:1

Peter approached Jesus and 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 the fellow servant 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.”

When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee
and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.

Reflection (Sem. Gerald M. Moscardon)

Be patient with me… As a child, I remember when my dad was teaching me the proper usage of the English language. He would give me a Reader’s Digest, let me choose an article from it, and then made me explain to him the summary of the article. He would do that to make me familiar with the language and be at ease with it. It took time and plenty of patience from his end. I mispronounced some words and there were subject-verb inconsistencies but he would patiently correct me with gentleness and firmness. He was gentle because I needed some time but he was firm because learning the language was for my benefit. I love learning languages because of my father. Now, when I would hear my nephew or nieces mispronounce some words or make grammar mistakes, I try my best to follow my dad’s ways of correcting mistakes – with gentleness and firmness.

In the seminary, fraternal correction is a much valued practice because it teaches not only the one being corrected but also the one correcting. As the one being corrected, I appreciate the desire of my brothers for me to improve by highlighting areas for improvement. They do their best to be gentle but firm in doing so. This teaches me to do the same when I correct others. It is knowing and experiencing compassion and understanding from others that I am invited to do the same or even more.

God has been patient with me despite my weaknesses and sins. He has been gentle with me knowing my vulnerabilities but at the same time, He is firm with me because He wants me to learn and overcome them through Him. If God has that patience and charity towards me, how can I not show the same to my brothers and to those who are in error?

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