From a Creighton Student's Perspective
February 26th, 2008
Sophomore in Arts & Sciences
Today’s gospel feels to me like a dramatic storyline that I would find played out on screen, the type of story perhaps in soap operas where I am unable to keep tract of who are the “good” and who are the “evil” characters. I visualize the master making demands of his servant and threatening his life but finally freeing him only for the servant to go after his fellow servant for the same crime. This is also the point in the show I forget my own humanity and hypocritical tendencies to turn the television off in disgust, wishing I could run like the other servants to “tattle” to the master on my peer.
And all along Peter just wants from Jesus a more tangible answer to how many times he should forgive someone.
This brings me to another setting which I can transcribe today’s gospel, elementary school playgrounds and its bullies. At this time, life is all about exploration and learning concrete answers. Jesus said I need to forgive people seven times seventy. That equals 490 times. Okay that is how forgiveness works. But it is hard to forgive the intimidator no matter how guilty I feel about hurting someone else and seek to be exonerated. Bullying seems to be a cyclical phenomenon where one child bullies another who in turns bullies someone else until one brave child finally brakes the cycle and says “I am sorry.” The experience of walking away from the oppressor and loving them without reservation offers freedom for the soul that I did not understand on the playground.
It seems so easy to hold a grudge. It seems so easy to become distracted by my own selfish resentments. It seems easy to forget about that phrase insisting on reciprocity, "Forgive us our sins just as we will forgive those who sin against us."
Jesus’ story let his follows know through vivid imagery how distracted humans become from true forgiveness. More importantly though in today’s reading is a message of forgiveness for not always forgiving. The master, like God, loved the servant, you and I, despite our brokenness. God’s love is not given only to those who deserve it, but rather just because we exist God loves us. Today’s gospel asks us to love our tormenters without reservation, without turning our forgiveness on and off. So, how many times do we walk up to the bully and let them know we love them? God never stops loving them.
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