Continuing with yesterday’s post, we move into today’s Gospel. Always. How many times must I forgive? Always. It’s hard to think of doing this, especially when someone has hurt us, or when someone continues to hurt us, or when we see someone consistently making bad choices which move them to take out their own frustrations on us. BUT, it is necessary, as we know how much our Lord has forgiven us, when we too have been on that same path. As we forgive others, our Heavenly Father has forgiven us.
Matthew 18:21-22: Forgive seventy times seven! Before the words of Jesus on fraternal correction and reconciliation, Peter asks, “How often must I forgive? Seven times?” Seven is a number which indicates perfection and, in the case of Peter’s proposal, seven is synonymous with always. But Jesus goes beyond. He eliminates whatever possible limitation there may be to pardon: “Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times”. It is as if He would say “Always, Peter! Even seventy seven times! Always!” This is because there is no proportion between God’s love for us and our love for our brother. Here we recall the episode of the Old Testament of Lamech: “Lamech says to his wives, Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; listen to what I say: I killed a man for wounding me, a boy for striking me. Sevenfold vengeance for Cain, but seventy-sevenfold for Lamech” (Gen 4:23-24). The task of the communities is to reverse the process of the spiral of violence. In order to clarify His response to Peter, Jesus tells them the parable of pardon without limits.
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