March 5, 2013 - Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

Daniel 3:25, 34-43
Psalm 25:4-9
Matthew 18:21-35

When they were translating the Gospel today, they decided to use the phrases “a huge amount” and “a much smaller amount” instead of using the numbers and the ancient currency that is actually mentioned. Something is lost in the translation. No adjective, certainly not a mere “huge” can describe the debt of the first servant. If we do a rough equivalency to modern money, the amount was approximately 2 billion dollars. Billion, with a “b”. We might wonder how exactly a servant came to be 2 billion dollars in debt to his master. Why did the master keep loaning him money? How did the servant waste so much?

The story is clearly pointing to our relationship with God. If I consider how much God has given me, I recognize that no value is sufficient to describe it. Who could pay a ransom for their life? Besides life, I might try to add up the value of the air I breathe and the water I drink. What is the value of an hour? Of a day? If I try to do a rough equivalency into modern money, I find that I have indeed borrowed well over 2 billion dollars worth so far. What do I have to show for this massive investment that God has made in me? If I were to compare the love with which God has loved me and the love with which I have loved God and my neighbor, I find that, like the servant, I am bankrupt.

The joy of being forgiven should be unequal to the lesser joys of this world. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would rejoice, but I would still be unable to pay God back for all the grace that I wasted. When we see people on television jumping and screaming, expressing uncontainable excitement, because they have won some few million dollars, we Christians are put to shame. Where is our excitement? Why are we not jumping up and down? We should rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. People should be asking us the reason for the hope that is within us.

This joy was what the servant lacked. When he met the other servant, who owed him about $5000, he should have laughed and cried. Imagine caring about $5000 when you have been forgiven 2 billion! Imagine caring about the little ways people hurt us when we have been forgiven all our sins!