From a Creighton Student's Perspective
March 29, 2011
Today’s Gospel reading begins with the well-known conversation between Peter and Jesus regarding forgiveness. Peter is asking Jesus how often he needs to forgive his brother for a continued sin, and the answer is an endless amount. Jesus challenges Peter as well as all of us to strive towards God’s perfection and have limitless forgiveness for one another.
He doesn’t necessarily give Peter a number of times to forgive, but he wants us to focus more on the quality of both the forgiveness and the sorrow for sin rather than the quantity. We shouldn’t only forgive someone seven or even seventy-seven times, but it may mean that Jesus wants us to fulfill a complete and perfect forgiveness when a sin has been committed against us.
Jesus tells Peter a parable to demonstrate how we need to give our forgiveness to others just as God has done for us. We need to hold a mindset that we have committed far worse sins than someone else has committed before us. Just as God and perhaps others have forgiven us, we must have the willingness and open hearts and minds to forgive others. God forgives all of our sins unconditionally—as long as we are truly sorry and stay firm believers—but we, as humans, struggle to have such an unconditional forgiveness for others. Because we often attach conditions when we forgive, we may not be able to offer a full forgiveness. We hold grudges and stay mad at certain people for a time (whether of short or long duration). We need to strive to be like God in forgiving others just as we have been forgiven.
May we show all those we encounter mercy and take to heart what we recite during the Lord’s Prayer: forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
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