Today’s Gospel: Matthew 18:21–19:1
Have there been times when you feel like you’ve been so wronged that you can’t even think about forgiving the person who has wronged you? You’re so hurt that you can’t think good thoughts about that person. You might even relate well with the servant who had his debt forgiven by his master, but refused to show the same courtesy and compassion to his fellow servant. When I’ve been in that situation, a priest friend told me to take a few deep breaths and to pray for that person. He suggested that by praying for that person, I might be able to find it in my heart to forgive the wrongs that were done to me, and then find peace. As long as the hurt is in my heart, the feelings of resentment and possible hatred, if allowed to fester for a long time, would increase, and I wouldn’t be able to find peace. How true that is! Forgiveness is a powerful thing. When Jesus suggests that you should forgive “not seven times, but seventy-seven times,” He is suggesting that there is no limit to the amount of times you can forgive. God’s love for us is so great that He puts no limits on the amount of times He forgives us of our sins. Pope Francis mentions this often in his talks and his speeches, particularly during last year’s Jubilee Year of Mercy: we should open wide the doors of our hearts to forgive others. Be as merciful as the Lord, because it’s the best way to be a witness of His love for all of us. It’s a good thing for us to keep in mind any time we feel wronged or hurt by others.
When we are wronged, do we “turn the other cheek” and forgive those who wrong us, or do we hold on to the hurts and resentments towards those who wrong us? What can we do to show mercy and forgiveness towards others?
Gracious God, we are thankful for all the mercies that You bestow upon us. Help us to show mercy and to forgive others as You have so generously done with us. Amen.
Copyright 2017 Lyn Francisco
Lyn Francisco is an organic chemist by training and education. When she is not at the lab bench, she occupies an organ bench in churches around Durham, NC. She also serves as cantor at Immaculate Conception Church in Durham.