Who is the greatest? Scandals
1 At that time the disciples came to Je sus and asked him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, 3 and said, “I assure you that unless you change and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever be comes lowly like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, 5 and whoever receives such a child in my name receives me.
6 If any of you should cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble and fall, it would be better for you to be thrown into the depths of the sea with a great millstone around your neck.
7 Woe to the world because of so many scandals! Scandals necessarily come, but woe to the one who has brought it about.
8 If your hand or foot drags you into sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life without a hand or a foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with your two hands and two feet. 9 And if your eye drags you into sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to be thrown into the fire of hell with your two eyes.
10 See that you do not despise any of these little ones, for I tell you: their angels in heaven continually see the face of my heavenly Father.
11 (The Son of Man has come to save the lost).
12 What do you think of this? If some one has a hundred sheep and one of them strays, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillside, and go to look for the stray one? 13 And I tell you: when he finally finds it, he is more pleased about it than about the ninety-nine that did not get lost. 14 It is the same with your Father in heaven: there they don’t want even one of these little ones to be lost.
Living together in the Church
15 If your brother or sister has sinned against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are in private, and if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 If you are not listened to, take with you one or two others so that the case may be decided by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he still refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembled Church. But if he does not listen to the Church, then regard such a one as a pagan or a publican.
18 I say to you: whatever you bind on earth, heaven will keep bound; and whatever you unbind on earth, heaven will keep unbound.
19 In like manner, I say to you: if on earth two of you are united in asking for anything, it will be granted to you by my heavenly Father. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my Name, I am there among them.”
21 Then Peter asked him, “Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother or sister? Seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
The unmerciful servant
23 This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven. A king decided to settle the accounts of his servants. 24 Among the first was one who owed him ten thousand gold ingots. 25 As the man could not repay the debt, the king commanded that he be sold as a slave with his wife, children and all his goods in payment.
26 The official threw himself at the feet of the king and said, ‘Give me time, and I will pay you back everything.’ 27 The king took pity on him and not only set him free but even canceled his debt.
28 This official then left the king’s presence and he met one of his companions who owed him a hundred pieces of silver. He grabbed him by the neck and almost strangled him, shouting, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 His companion threw himself at his feet and asked him, ‘Give me time, and I will pay everything.’ 30 The other did not agree, but sent him to prison until he had paid all his debt.
31 His companions saw what happened. They were indignant and so they went and reported everything to their lord. 32 Then the lord summoned his official and said, ‘Wicked servant, I forgave you all that you owed when you begged me to do so. 33 Weren’t you bound to have pity on your companion as I had pity on you?’ 34 The lord was now angry, so he handed his servant over to be punished, until he had paid his whole debt.”
35 Jesus added, “So will my heavenly Father do with you unless each of you sincerely for give your brother or sister.”