Exercising Forgiveness

According to the oral interpretations of the Torah, forgiveness allows for three offences and the fourth calls for action, usually a punishment.

The Gospel According to Matthew

Peter asks Jesus a very straightforward question in the Gospel for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mt. 18:21-35): how often should he forgive. Peter was generous and doubled the forgiveness of the rabbis. To his surprise, Jesus was not impressed. Not 7 times he tells him, but 77 times! In other words, Jesus is saying that you cannot attach a number or limit to how much you forgive. He then tells the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.

Reconciling Through Forgiveness

In teaching the Sacrament of Reconciiation, children learn the importance of giving and receiving forgiveness. Reflecting on our behavior and admitting when we have done wrong is not easy. Admitting our faults and how we have hurt others is challenging. It requires personal reflection. No one likes to be wrong and we hope the other person will accept our apology and through this encounter our personal relationships can grow.

Forgiving Debts

In the parable, the king forgave his servant's debt, but when the servant went out and failed to forgive his fellow servant, the king took back his pardon. the Gospel tells us to forgive others and our forgiveness should not be just once or twice, but seventy times seven. Forgiveness is an ongoing proesss, every day, every week, year after year our entire life long. Forgiveness is love in action. forgiveness mirrors the unconditional love of God and has the power to transform both the one forgiving and the one forgiven. It is an exercise of our faith, illustrating our capacity to love beyond mistakes and hurtful actions as we conciously free ouselves and pave the way for healing and renewal.