“Forgiveness…… God always forgives! He never tires of forgiving. It is we who tire of asking for forgiveness.” – Pope Francis
Gospel Text: (MT 18:21-35)
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
"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.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.'
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
'Pay back what you owe.'
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?'
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."
That God the Father sent His only Son into the world so that sins might be forgiven is at the heart of Christianity. Virtually everyone knows from experience that something is wrong in his / her human condition, something no one has ever quite defined or fully eradicated. Some like to think that the cause of this recurrent historical disorder is the very idea that a man can do something wrong or evil. All we need to be perfect is rid ourselves of the silly claim that good and evil exist.
Yet sin seems connected with our very condition. Christianity is not new because men suddenly realized that they sinned. Rather, they did not know what to do about the evils that they sent into the world because of their sins. Evidently, not any way would do. The forgiveness had to be placed in the hands of someone authorized to forgive. No ordinary person possessed this capacity, only God himself can accomplish this task and if you have ever gone to confession you know what I mean simply by the way you feel when you leave the confessional.
The sticking point of the Father’s forgiveness is not on the side of God, but on our side. The one sin that cannot be forgiven is the one we insist on committing, the sin that says that we need not acknowledge moral evils in our souls or in the encouragement that they receive from our culture.