Forgiveness

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Readings for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor – Optional Memorial

“Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.”  Matthew 18:21-22

This question, posed by Peter to Jesus, was asked in such a way that Peter thought he was being quite generous in his forgiveness.  But to his surprise, Jesus adds to Peter’s generosity in forgiveness in an exponential way. 

For many of us, this sounds good in theory.  It is inspiring and encouraging to ponder the depths of forgiveness that we are called to offer another.  But when it comes to daily practice, this may be much harder to embrace.

By calling us to forgive not only seven times but seventy-seven times, Jesus is telling us that there is no limit to the depth and breadth of mercy and forgiveness that we must offer another.  No limit!

This spiritual truth must become far more than a theory or ideal we strive for.  It must become a practical reality which we embrace with all our might.  We must daily seek to rid ourselves of any tendency we have, no matter how small, to hold a grudge and remain in anger.  We must seek to free ourselves from every form of bitterness and allow mercy to heal every hurt.

Reflect, today, upon that person or persons you need to forgive the most.  Forgiveness may not make perfect sense to you right away and you may find that your feelings do not fall in line with the choice you are trying to make.  Do not give up!  Continue to make the choice to forgive, regardless of how you feel or how hard it is.  In the end, mercy and forgiveness will always triumph, heal and give you the peace of Christ.

Lord, give me a heart of true mercy and forgiveness.  Help me to let go of all bitterness and pain I feel.  In place of these, give me true love and help me to offer that love to others without reserve.  I love You, dear Lord.  Help me to love all people as You love them.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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