Peter approached Jesus and asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. (Mt. 18:21-22)
Today's reflection brings us back to the topic of forgiveness. Forgiveness is vital to our spiritual walk, and Christ clarifies this point through Peter's question. Peter asks how often we should forgive others, and Christ answers, "not seven times but seventy-seven times." We should all let that verse sink in for a moment and reflect if this is something we are honestly doing. The spiritual life is not about us or one's comfort but about living for Christ. St. Paul reminds us that "none of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself." (Romans 14:7)
"We all need to be forgiven by others, so we must all be ready to forgive. Asking and granting forgiveness is something profoundly worthy of every one of us." St. John Paul II
Forgiving someone can be very transformative since both the giver and receiver of this act partake in a step toward spiritual healing. One of my favorite examples of forgiveness comes from the assassination attempt on pope John Paul II. Mehmet Ali Agca was the Turkish man who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981. Agca was caught and went to prison, and in 1983, John Paul visited him in prison in an act of charity to publicly forgive him. Obviously, this profoundly affected Agca, who later decided to renounce the Muslim faith and become a Roman Catholic. John Paul showed the world that he understood Gods saving grace and that God's forgiveness towards us should be displayed in our forgiveness to others.
Forgive your neighbor the wrong done to you; then, when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven. (Sirach 28:2)
We live in an age that is not very keen on forgiveness, and the possibility of being canceled is at our front door. Some people have lost relationships over having different political beliefs or different religions; the list goes on and on. Are you clinging to hatred, or any kind of resentment? If so, today is the day to let it go and forgive, forgive, forgive. If we are going to live for Christ and truly live as Christ's children, we must do our best to cultivate a holy life. Today reflect on the Lord's Prayer, which also reminds us to "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
Forgivness is what folks of today both need to have and to do. It is in short supply now. Lord, may it begin with me🙏Thank you for this needed article!