Just then the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who ranks higher than others in the Kingdom of the Heavens?"
So He called a young child to Him, and, bidding him stand in the midst of them,
said, "In solemn truth I tell you that unless you turn and become like little children, you will in no case be admitted into the Kingdom of the Heavens.
Whoever therefore shall humble himself as this young child, he it is who is superior to others in the Kingdom of the Heavens.
And whoever for my sake receives one young child such as this, receives me.
But whoever shall occasion the fall of one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung round his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
"Alas for the world because of causes of falling! They cannot but come, but alas for each man through whom they come!
If your hand or your foot is causing you to fall into sin, cut it off and away with it. It is better for you to enter into Life crippled in hand or foot than to remain in possession of two sound hands or feet but be thrown into the fire of the Ages.
And if your eye is causing you to fall into sin, tear it out and away with it; it is better for you to enter into Life with only one eye, than to remain in possession of two eyes but be thrown into the Gehenna of fire.
"Beware of ever despising one of these little ones, for I tell you that in Heaven their angels have continual access to my Father who is in Heaven.
What do you yourselves think? Suppose a man gets a hundred sheep and one of them strays away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go and look for the one that is straying?
And if he succeeds in finding it, in solemn truth I tell you that he rejoices over it more than he does over the ninety-nine that have not gone astray.
Just so it is not the will of your Father in Heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.
"If your brother acts wrongly towards you, go and point out his fault to him when only you and he are there. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
But if he will not listen to you, go again, and ask one or two to go with you, that every word spoken may be attested by two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to hear them, appeal to the Church; and if he refuses to hear even the Church, regard him just as you regard a Gentile or a tax-gatherer.
I solemnly tell you that whatever you as a Church bind on earth will in Heaven be held as bound, and whatever you loose on earth will in Heaven be held to be loosed.
I also solemnly tell you that if two of you here on earth agree together concerning anything whatever that they shall ask, the boon will come to them from my Father who is in Heaven.
For where there are two or three assembled in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
At this point Peter came to Him with the question, "Master, how often shall my brother act wrongly towards me and I forgive him? seven times?"
"I do not say seven times," answered Jesus, "but seventy times seven times.
"For this reason the Kingdom of the Heavens may be compared to a king who determined to have a settlement of accounts with his servants.
But as soon as he began the settlement, one was brought before him who owed 10,000 talents,
and was unable to pay. So his master ordered that he and his wife and children and everything that he had should be sold, and payment be made.
The servant therefore falling down, prostrated himself at his feet and entreated him. "`Only give me time,' he said, `and I will pay you the whole.'
"Whereupon his master, touched with compassion, set him free and forgave him the debt.
But no sooner had that servant gone out, than he met with one of his fellow servants who owed him 100 shillings; and seizing him by the throat and nearly strangling him he exclaimed, "`Pay me all you owe.'
"His fellow servant therefore fell at his feet and entreated him, "`Only give me time,' he said, `and I will pay you.'
"He would not, however, but went and threw him into prison until he should pay what was due.
His fellow servants, therefore, seeing what had happened, were exceedingly angry; and they came and told their master without reserve all that had happened.
At once his master called him and said, "`Wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt, because you entreated me:
ought not you also to have had pity on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?'
"So his master, greatly incensed, handed him over to the jailers until he should pay all he owed him.
"In the same way my Heavenly Father will deal with you, if you do not all of you forgive one another from your hearts."