It is the fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Was soll ich aus dir machen, Ephraim” (What shall I make of you, Ephraim):
Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 18:21-35:
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:
Indeed, God should freely
speak a work in judgment
and revenge the mockery of His name
at the hands of His enemies.
The reckoning of your sins is uncountable,
and even if God has patience,
yet your inimical will spurns
the offered goodness
and forces the guilt onto your neighbor;
therefore vengeance must be ignited.
A merciless judgment
will certainly be pronounced over you.
Vengeance begins with those
who do not show mercy,
and like Sodom, they are totally annihilated.
Well then! My heart lays anger, quarreling and discord aside;
it is ready to forgive my neighbor.
However, how terrified is my sinful life,
since I am full of guilt before God!
Yet Jesus’ blood
accounts for the reckoning,
if I turn to Him, as the source of the law,
Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.