On the Wicked Servant

Homily of Saint John Chrysostom on Matthew 28.23-35

1. For the attainments of this virtue (contempt of anger) time is not a necessity; labour is not a necessity; money is not needed. To will alone suffices, and then all that relates to this virtue will prosper. And in meditating on the authority of God Who ordains and commands us to practise this virtue, we shall receive sufficient instruction and counsel concerning it: for what we are about to say to you is not our teaching; we but lead you all into the Presence of the Lawgiver. Follow me therefore and give ear to His divine laws.

Where then does He speak of anger and of the remembrance of injuries? Often; here and elsewhere, but especially in this parable, which He spoke to His Disciples, beginning in this way: Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a man king who would take an account of his servants. And, when he had begun to take the account, one was brought to him that owed him ten thousand talents. And, as he had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be sold, and his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. But that servant falling down besought him, saying: Have patience with me and I will pay thee all. And the lord of that servant, being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him the debt. But, when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow servants that owed him an hundred pence; and laying hold of him, he throttled him, saying: Pay what thou owest, And his fellow servant, falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me and I will pay thee all. And he would not; but went and cast him into prison till he paid the debt. Now his fellow servants, seeing what was done, were very much grieved; and they came and told their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me; shouldst not thou then have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee? And his lord, being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid the debt. So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.

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