The theme of forgiveness continues in this Sunday’s Gospel[1] which is when Peter asks the Lord “Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?”[2] Jesus answers Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.[3] The Lord then tells the parable of the unforgiving servant who had been forgiven by the King and then refuses to forgive a fellow servant.

“This teaching…is a great example of mercy in action and in refusing to be merciful.[4]

Yes, we all seek mercy for ourselves but can be quite unmerciful to our neighbours, especially if they have hurt us deeply.

There is a temptation to quantify forgiveness as Peter tried to do, but Jesus’ point is that forgiveness is not about quantity—the number of times we extend forgiveness to another. In the parable the king’s forgiveness is like God’s forgiveness, and it transforms us, helping us to be as forgiving as God. The lesson is clear: If we hoard God’s mercy while showing no mercy to others, we risk forfeiting the effects of God’s mercy in our lives.[5]

In a Novena to St. Faustina for “the grace of being transformed into Mercy,” the words of Jesus spoken to St. Faustina (and to each one of us) are “Every soul should reflect My mercy.[6]Be always merciful as I am merciful. Love everyone out of love for Me, even your greatest enemies, so that My mercy may be fully reflected in your Heart.[7]

It is only through the action of grace that we can be transformed into merciful people; that we can reflect His Mercy; that we can love even our greatest enemies. We just need to correspond with that Merciful grace!

Sr. Rosaleen Shaw OP

[1] Mt.18:21-25

[2] Mt.18:21

[3] Mt.18:22

[4] https://ec-prod-site


[6] St. Faustina Diary #1148

[7] Ibid., #1695