COMMENT: Ronald Knox & Ronald Cox quotation
|Memorial Grove, 7 Trees.|
Seven Monks of Our Lady of Atlas
Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (The Gospel Story, Knox-Cox p.185).
Our Lord's reply does away with all counting and book-keeping; if a man is sorry, always forgive him, no matter how many times he offends. ('Seventy times seven' is a scriptural expression for a great number, Genesis 4, 24.)
And the parable explains the reason why: we are all bankrupts, all beggars, all sinners; we have merited the torments of hell. Since God has remitted so much, the least we can do is to be easy creditors ourselves. Un-forgiveness is especially heinous in the forgiven.
The parable is based on oriental monarchies and their laws.
The punishment of wife and family was an accepted principle (Joshua 7, 24); torture was used often to force the prisoner to reveal hidden wealth. The contrast between the two debts is about a million to one; like a drop of water compared to the boundless ocean, says St. John Chrysostom. The first debtor must have been an official of the king, to have the use of so much money; an apt allusion to Peter, the vicar of Christ. Possibly 'ten thousand' is a reference to the ten commandments, which sinful man has broken; they represent the long list of debts incurred with God.