“IF YOU DO NOT FORGIVE OTHERS, THEN YOUR FATHER WILL NOT FORGIVE YOU EITHER” (Matt 6:15)
⏰Thursday of the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time (17 August 2017)
????Josh 3:7-10a; Ps 114:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; Matt 18:21 – 19:1
Yesterday, we were talking about the necessity of forgiveness in order to build up a harmonious community. But today, we are reminded that forgiveness is a norm that must be observed by all.
Peter might have recalled Jesus’ teaching in Matt 6:14-15, and then, since Jesus just brought up the matter of forgiveness again, he wanted to make sure he is doing the right thing.
The number “7”, as we have often noted in this forum, indicates “completion” or “perfection”. Hence, in his question (cf. Matt 18:21), Peter must have been wanting to respond to the call of Jesus for us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matt 5:48).
However, Jesus immediately broadened the teaching to inform us that the numbers are endless. Hence, we must forgive endlessly just as God continues to forgive us endlessly. Failure to do so, we shall be calling for the same repercussion which the wicked servant got in Matt 18:23-35.
Meanwhile, think about this: if, from that parable of the unforgiving servant (Matt 18:23-35), the king represents God, and the servants represent us, while the man who owed him but was forgiven represents the sinner. The Lord ordered in Matt 18:34 that the servant should be locked out and tortured in a place UNTIL he pays back his debt in full. This place of torture could not be HELL because hell is a permanent place. But, the ‘until’ there already indicates it is a temporal place.
Does that give you any insight about the doctrine of purgatory? Meditate deeply about that.
We however pray that God may grant us the grace to always forgive others from our heart so that that torture would never be our lot. Amen.
I wish you a grace-filled day ahead. Peace be with you.
Good evening Fr. I just have a quick question on forgiveness.
Is it possible to forgive those who wronged you terribly but never asked for forgiveness?
Presently, I feel forgiveness can be administered to those who soberly ask for it, having realized the wrong they have done.
I will greatly appreciate your response on this via my email.
Ok my dear. Thanks for the question. The answer you seek is found at the foot of the cross. Jesus said before he gave up his spirit, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do.” He forgave those who crucified him. We are called to be like Jesus.
It is possible! Pope St. John Paul II did it when he visited the man who wanted to assassinate him, Ali Agça in prison and forgave him.