12th August 2021
ALWAYS AND FOREVER FORGIVING
One of the greatest things that is preventing us from growing and developing in life, is keeping bitterness and grudges in our hearts. Our hearts are full of people and bad things that people did to us, to an extent that God does not have a space in our hearts.
Today we are being reminded that, our God is generous and forgiving, performing great signs so that more people will come to put their faith in the Lord God. The infinite mercy of God can never be outdone.
There is simply no limit to the mercy of God, and therefore, there must be no limit to the mercy we offer to others.
Our First Reading today, takes place when the Israelites have finally finished their journey in the desert and are about to cross into the Promised Land. The only thing preventing them from entering the “land flowing with milk and honey”, is the mightily flowing Jordan River. But as God had promised, as soon as the priests bearing the Ark start to step into the rushing river, the water stops flowing and the river bed dries out. In a parallel event to the parting of the Sea at the beginning of their journey out of Egypt, God has demonstrated that He is in control, even of natural phenomena.
In the Gospel, bold Peter wants to show that he is righteous. He asks Jesus if he forgives a fellow member of the family of God seven times is he not being a righteous person. The Jews held that one should forgive another three times. Peter doubles the number and adds one to make it seven times. The number seven signifies a perfect number, thus Peter is questioning, if he perfectly forgives the one who has wronged him, isn’t that enough.
Jesus remarks by using the number seventy times seven, an even more perfect number which signifies unlimitedness. “Seventy times seven” was a way of saying “always.” In other words, Jesus was not giving a specific number to the times we must forgive, He was saying that forgiveness must be offered forever and always, without limit. This is the depth of forgiveness offered to us.
Our Gospel continues in the related parable, where the servant owed his king a “huge amount.” In mercy, the king forgave the debt just as God is willing to forgive us no matter what. But forgiveness does have one price.
The price is that we must also forgive others to the same extent. Thus, when the servant who was forgiven a huge amount later sees one of his servants who owed him a much smaller amount, he demands the debt be paid in full. The result is that the king hears of this and withdraws his mercy, requiring the servant to pay him back in full.
This parable presents to us the reason why Christians should practice limitless forgiveness. The whole message of today’s gospel is the necessity to continuously forgive a person.
For this is exactly what God is also doing to us. He never refuses to forgive us every time we ask forgiveness from Him. It is because all are sinners who owe God infinite debt. There is no other way we can ever pay our debt to God than forgiving others. Remaining angry and hurt only leads to more anger and hurt. It leads to vengeful thinking and even acting. And that is a sin for which we will be held accountable.
Dear Christians, today let us reflect upon the infinite depth of mercy and forgiveness we are called to offer to each and every person who has or will hurt us. To forgive is certainly not to excuse. On the contrary, the act of forgiveness acknowledges the sin.
But mercy must be offered no matter what. Always, everywhere, unending and without any conditions, it must be offered. If this is difficult to do, do it anyway and do not stop. Doing so will not only help the sinner, it will also open the gates of mercy from God in your life.
May the good Lord help us to realize that, it is essential that we offer forgiveness always and everywhere, without condition, without limit and without hesitation.
Revenge is like biting a dog because it has bitten you, obviously you are the one to suffer. Choose forgiveness and you will have peace.
Let Go and let God