Forgive again... or else
Forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Today’s Gospel (Matthew 18:21-19:1) challenges us to kick it up to the next level.
Our Lord challenges us not only to forgive, but to forgive repeatedly – seventy-seven times, an expression that signifies unending forgiveness.
It is not a matter of forgiving and forgetting, but forgiving every time we remember an offense or an injury against us.
To be sure, we need to be prudent in guarding against ongoing danger from offenders, especially if others are threatened, but even then we must have forgiveness in our hearts and souls.
If we fail to forgive, however, the danger is inescapable and beyond terrifying, as our Lord says at the end of the parable in today’s Gospel.
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart