“LORD, IF MY BROTHER SINS AGAINST ME, HOW OFTEN MUST I FORGIVE HIM?” MT 18:21-35
Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
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.” MT 18:21-35
Forgiveness is hard. As I continue to try and fight sin, I realize God’s love and mercy for us is beyond understanding. God continues to forgive us, if we are sorry from our heart, which means we will leave confession with the intent to stop the sin in our life (reconciliation). Pope Francis said, “God never tires of forgiving, we tire of asking for forgiveness”.
We need God’s grace. Jesus is waiting, thirsting for our souls to be reconciled. This was His mission and purpose. If we don’t bring ourselves to Him, the power of the Cross is lost. He is waiting with an ocean of mercy. God’s mercy is bigger than sin. We must never tire of fighting sin and asking for God’s mercy when we fall.
After falling in love with Jesus, the second path to holiness according to Bishop Barron’s book “The Strangest Way”, is to accept ourselves as a sinner. I often fail at all of these things and while sitting in silence realize the things I am criticizing others for is what I struggle with. If I do it, it’s not as bad of a sin (in my mind/rationalize it). If another does it, and it’s hurting me, it’s much worse (in my mind/criticize them for it). Sin is sin and we can’t rationalize it. This is the point of today’s parable, Jesus is teaching us an important lesson.
Jesus died for us to reconcile us with the Father. An important part of every person’s faith journey is accepting ourselves as sinners, forgiving others, and recognizing WE ALL NEED A SAVIOR!!!!!!!! This is a long and difficult process which involves fasting, prayer, coming to know God in the Scriptures, desiring holiness and developing a relationship with Him.
Most importantly, Mary is waiting for us to ask her to intercede for us and protect us from evil. We can ask her to wrap us in her mantle every day all day. We can ask St. Joseph to wrap us in his cloak and protect us, too. I am still going back to confession for some of the same sins I have had since I was younger. Other sins, with God’s grace in the Eucharist and Reconciliation, I have overcome. Forgiveness is hard. God’s mercy is generous and can never be outmatched.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us if we want this mercy, we too must forgive. Ouch! My pride usually wins when it comes to forgiving or asking for forgiveness. Our homes, schools, and communities would be much better if we forgave more. Forgiveness is hard and we usually need to forgive those closest to us. Fr. Jacques Philippe teaches that we are chained to the person we need to forgive or ask for forgiveness from. The hardest things in life often have the greatest rewards. Today, Jesus reminds us forgiveness is essential to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Today’s challenge: Ask Jesus for the words to say when preparing yourself to forgive or ask for forgiveness. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Don’t plan on it going well sometimes. Often times a person is very upset and hurt. Ask God for His grace to continue open communication and be prepared to say I’m sorry many times. Forgive and ask for forgiveness to prepare your soul for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Forgiveness is for-giving! Give it often! Pope Francis, “Say Please, Thank You, and I’m Sorry everyday”. Fr. Kapaun said, “If we fail to forgive, we reject our own faith!” Fr. Kapaun, pray for us!
Be a servant, become a saint!