Forgiving others is not an easy thing. Forgiving others has a sting. The hurt can often remain. But the Church teaches us that “it is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession.”[1]

We are also taught that “Christian prayer extends to the forgiveness of enemies,[2] transfiguring the disciple by configuring him to his Master. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.[3] Jesus’ torn, mangled, pierced body causing Him excruciating pain can utter those words…"forgive them".

We are called to prayer, to reflect there on how we treat others. We are called to “attune our hearts to God’s compassion[4] as we learn in today’s Gospel – “And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt.[5]

Jesus lets each one of us go and cancels our debt. There is, however, a stipulation. We pray in the Our Father “And forgive us our debts, as we have forgive those who are in debts to us.”[6] At the end of today’s Gospel we have a stern warning, namely “And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you can forgive your brothers from your heart.[7]

St. Augustine comments that the “thunder of this warning” is so severe that it should awaken even the dead Christian to a life of forgiveness-giving.[8]

Food for thought. Food for prayer.

Sr. Rosaleen Shaw OP

[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church #2843

[2] Cf. Mt. 5:43-44

[3] Lk.23:34

[4] Cf. CCC #2844

[5] Matt.18:28

[6] Matt.6:12

[7] Matt. 18:34-35


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