Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive?
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 the fellow servant 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.
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In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us the importance of forgiveness. Even though he gives us the number seventy-seven, he doesn’t want us to keep a record of how many times we forgive. We should forgive our brothers and sisters lovingly, generously, and almost recklessly. Before someone even asks for forgiveness, we can show it to them. When someone seemingly “doesn’t deserve” to be forgiven, we can forgive them anyway as the Lord forgives us.
No matter the multitude or the severity of our sins, God forgives us every time we approach him with a contrite heart. The best part is, he’s always so quick to forgive us, and he does it every time! He loves us so much that he welcomes us back and embraces us no matter what. A Bible verse that I’ve been pondering lately is Matthew 5:48, which reads “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” Although we’ll never be perfect in this life, we can still strive to imitate our Heavenly Father and become as much like him as possible. One way that we can do this is by forgiving others with our hearts filled with love. When the occasion arises, don’t think of their offense when someone asks for forgiveness. Instead, remember the gift that they are and how much you love them.
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