Forgiveness Pentecost 17
One of the hardest things to do is to forgive. In Luke 17:4, using a metaphor of a mulberry tree, Jesus describes the hard work of forgiving. Forgiving repeatedly is to forgive comprehensively: rooting out bitterness and giving up the tendency to rehearse one’s pain. A mulberry tree has a vast network of roots radiating out in all directions. It is an enormous task to pull out all the roots without leaving a trace of one left. How do we achieve the heart wrenching task of a lifestyle of forgiveness? The Good News is that the tiniest seed of faith will guarantee success. Faith is a gift so powerful that it could stroke the ego. Thus, using the image of a slave’s call to serve continuously, Jesus warns about being humble and grounded and not taking faith for granted; . The vocation to authentic humility is unwelcome and prepares us for the ingratitude of the nine lepers in the next episode.
The Gospel according to Luke 17:5–10
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. 7 “Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? 8 Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? 9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’ ”