Matthew 18, 21-35
Sunday, 17th September 2023 (24th OT A)
“At that time Peter came forward and asked Jesus, ‘Lord, if my brother wrongs me, how many times must I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'”
If last Sunday the Lord asked us to correct the brother who fails, today he exhorts us to forgive him.
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The one who does it, pays the price. I forgive but I do not forget. Which of us has not at one time or another shared one of these feelings? We feel it when one of those we live with does “something wrong” to us. We feel offended and a certain resentment takes hold of us. “You’ll pay for this”, we might think.
To Peter’s question in the Gospel: “How many times must I forgive?”, Jesus’ answer leaves no doubt: “Seventy times seven”. And forgive from the heart. Forgive and forget, as God does: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. “Today you will be with me in paradise”, he said to the good thief on the cross. So he asks us to forgive as well. It is one of Jesus’ commands that is most difficult for us to put into practice. But we have to keep in mind that when we ask God to forgive us, we have to forgive our brother and sister: “as we are forgiven”.
The first reading tells us: “The Lord will take vengeance on the avenger and will give a close account of his faults. Forgive your neighbour’s offence and your sins will be forgiven when you ask for it”.
May the Lord grant us his Spirit so that we may have a merciful heart.
Juan Ramón Gómez Pascual, cmf
Do you forgive and forget?