"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

Receive Forgiveness To Be Able To Forgive From The Heart


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s there such a thing as repayment when it comes to receiving something from God may that one be God's forgiveness or God's wondrous gifts? How can the finite repay the infinite? Is it possible? When Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Earlier in Matthew 16, Jesus already gave a harsh rebuke towards Peter when he said, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men" (Mt 16:23). The answer of Jesus to Peter, in today's gospel, may not seem harsh like the Get-behind-me-Satan-rebuke but if we pay close attention to the parable that Jesus used, about the king who decided to settle accounts with his servants, we will see that it is addressed first to Peter before anybody else.

Jesus is teaching his apostles about something that is very significant when it comes to forgiveness. It is not repayment. The entirety of forgiveness is one of compassion and mercy where one will never be able to account for or quantify. The moment one starts to count then something will be out of place. That is, we will never be able to truly receive the compassion and mercy of God by counting. Perhaps, we could get something out of it but it would be too little as we could only count too little. That's what happened to the debtor who was first forgiven unconditionally by the master. Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan of millions of dollars no private person could ever repay.

But when that same 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.’ He was earlier forgiven but the graciousness of the master did not sink in. When he received forgiveness, perhaps it was stuck as an idea, it did not really become a reality to him. As a consequence his heart was as cold as before. He could not forgive the others. If we are forgiven especially if the debt is enormous, then it would have been easier to forgive those who sin against us. For the persons who are more merciful are those who had been shown mercy by another.

This is the same case with the parable of the two sons. The elder brother who never left the father's house was thinking more like a slave who worked so hard to earn something from his father, worst to earn his sonship. When the time came that his younger brother had come back home, he became angry towards the father. He started demanding a full accounting of all his physical labor. Thus, all the time, he never lived his life like a son who does not need to earn his father's love and inheritance. He was living his life like a slave not as a son.

Forgiveness is the life-blood of any Christian community because we cannot avoid upsetting one another intentionally or unintentionally. The whole chapter 18 of Matthew consists of special teachings about the community of the disciples, and half of it concerns quarrels and misunderstandings.

So forgiveness from the heart is the vital step, and real forgiveness cements a relationship. The relationship of the younger son and his father became much deeper and stronger than it was before he left. What could the unforgiving servant, the elder son, the apostles and the rest of us learn from the younger son, i.e., the grace to receive the mercy and compassion of God. Only after that can one truly forgive. Amen Fr JM Manzano SJ

Comments

  1. Receive to Give For peace and healing of oneself and unto others. Wonderful way to build community and grow together in God's grace. Thanks much for your timely reflection. Hoping for more to come... God bless us!πŸ˜‡πŸ™πŸ˜Š

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    1. Thanks so much for your sharing! GBU! πŸ˜‡

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    2. Fr. Jomari, Happy Solemnity of St. Joseph! Blessed are you to be named after St. Joseph. Remembering you in prayer...GBU!

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    3. Happy solemnity of St Joseph: Cor Mariti (with a husband's heart) Patris corde (with a father's heart) GBU!πŸ˜‡

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    4. True! πŸ₯° Always with love... His way followed by Christ... then we follow Christ... love for His Spouse the Church and fatherly or motherly to persons entrusted to us. St. Joseph, pray for us to be like you. Thanks again Fr. Jomari!😊

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