Jesus has been instructing his disciples how they should live together. He spoke about humility, care of the weak, accountability, discipline, reconciliation, and restoration. Peter comes out with a question; “How many times should I forgive?” The question seems a fair one.
We get a sense that Peter is listening closely to Jesus, maybe taking notes on how to be the Church. And Jesus tells them a story to illustrate that forgiveness, in it's essence, is a matter of love.
In the parable in today’s Gospel, when the servant asks the king to be patient with him, the king not only canceled his debt but released him without even a repayment schedule! However, when the servant had an opportunity to forgive his fellow servant, he ignored how his master canceled his debt and freed him. Instead, he punished his fellow servant physically and threw him into prison. Jesus uses this parable to tell us God expects us to forgive our brothers and sisters from our hearts.
In other words, forgiveness is all about love. It doesn’t matter how many times!
God forgives out of love and offers His grace to help us forgive. We need to recognize that grace in our lives. When we fail to forgive, our hearts can fill with anger and hate. With time, we tend to nurse our grudges and grievances and want to retaliate.
Forgiving is hard, especially when someone whom we love and trust wrongs us. Forgiving hurts. It is painful, especially when it means accepting instead of demanding repayment for the wrong done, releasing the other instead of exacting revenge, reaching out in love instead of relinquishing resentments.
But forgiveness is our most profound need and, at the same time, our highest achievement.
The good news is we have a resource to help us break the negative process and move forward. The grace of God can help us love and forgive. Accepting that grace can enable us to set the other person free by forgiving them. It has the power to transform us, our families, and our communities.
Let us call on God for the grace to forgive and contribute to the healing that we, our families, and our world so much long for.
Let us pray for all families with broken relationships that they may open their hearts to each other, forgive one another, and live a peaceful life.
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About Father Jilson Tom, C.S.C.
Father Jilson Tom, C.S.C. is from the Northeast India Province of Holy Cross. A native of Kerala, Father Jilson has been serving in a parish and school ministry since his ordination twelve years ago. He joins the Family Rosary team as an Assistant, while he works to study Pastoral Counseling in the Boston area. With a personal devotion to Mother Mary, Father Jilson is thrilled to be working to enhance family prayer through the Rosary. And if you ever need a listening ear or want to play a board game, Father Jilson’s your guy!