The Parable of the Two Debtors | iPray with the Gospel
A woman of the city, who was a sinner, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment … Jesus said to Simon, “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more.”
Simon, the Pharisee who was hosting Jesus, wasn’t impressed with the forgiveness of a public sinner. Some Pharisees didn’t consider themselves sinners and for that reason Jesus couldn’t save them, because He came to save sinners. Saints have always considered themselves sinners. St Thérèse of Lisieux was one of them. She explains how, even though she had not committed grave sins, she acknowledges that she is very much in debt to God’s Mercy.
“Let us suppose” she writes, “that the son of a very clever doctor, stumbling over a stone on the road, falls and breaks his leg. His father hastens to him, lifts him lovingly, and binds up the fractured limb, putting forth all his skill. The son, when cured, displays the utmost gratitude, and he has excellent reason for doing so. But let us take another supposition. The father, aware that a dangerous stone lies in his son’s path, is beforehand with the danger and removes it, unseen by anyone. The son, thus tenderly cared for, not knowing of the mishap from which his father’s hand has saved him, naturally will not show him any gratitude, and will love him less than if he had cured him of a grievous wound. But suppose he heard the whole truth, would he not in that case love him still more? Well now, I am this child … He has forgiven me, not much, but everything.”
St Augustine had much to be forgiven. He asks those who read his autobiography, his Confessions, and who haven’t committed the sins that he committed, not to despise him’. Because – St Augustine wrote -, when he was in sin, he “was healed by that same Physician by whose aid it was that the reader was not sick, or rather was less sick”. Holy Mary, Mother of Mercy, help me to thank Our Lord for His infinite Mercy towards me.
This article originally appeared on www.ipraywiththegospel.org. Reprinted with permission. Copyright © Fr. George Boronat.
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).