70 times 7

In today’s Gospel, Peter approached Jesus and asked how many times he must forgive his brother; he even suggested if he should limit it to seven times. Jesus’ response of “77 times” (or “70 times 7 times”) means that we should forgive without limit. In the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, we saw what happened to the servant who, after having been forgiven by his master for a huge debt, refused to forgive a fellow servant who owed him a small debt.

It isn’t difficult to figure out that in this parable, the master represents God, while the servants represent us. The teaching of the parable is simple and straightforward – forgive others and you will be forgiven. Stated in another way, you won’t be forgiven if you don’t forgive others. This teaching is so basic in the Gospels, that Jesus taught us to pray to the Father: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. It is a principle in which we ought to live by.

The Book of Sirach tells us the same message: Forgive your neighbor the wrong done to you; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven. Does anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the LORD? Can one refuse mercy to a sinner like oneself, yet seek pardon for one’s own sins? If a mere mortal cherishes wrath, who will forgive his sins? (Sirach 28:2-5)

Why is forgiveness difficult to come by? Sometimes, when someone offends us, we tend to magnify the offense into something much bigger than what it really is; when that happens, it becomes harder for us to forgive others. On the other hand, when we are the one who offend others, we tend to minimize our offense with excuses; when that happens, we have trouble understanding why others can’t readily forgive us. And yet, there are also some people who have a hard time forgiving themselves. They find it easy to make excuses for others, but they just can’t get over the fact that they have done something wrong. As a result, they blame themselves unendingly.

In any case, we must discern the root cause of such behavior, and do our best to correct it with the help of God’s grace. It is difficult not to feel offended or to forget an offense, but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into understanding, and it purifies the memory by transforming hurts into prayer.

The early bird gets the worm. Garage Sale items are on display in the Social Hall. Come and check out this week’s specials: portable sewing machine and 18 commercial quality bar chairs.

For fiscal year 2020-2021, the goal for our church’s Archbishop’s Annual Appeal is $5,200. Total donations so far is $4,705. We still need $495 to reach our goal. Thank you for your support!

If you have used ink cartridges, don’t throw them away! Please bring them to the church office. Every ink cartridge we recycle gives us $2 off for our next ink purchase. Any size ink cartridge is accepted.

Faith Formation has gone online! Online classes for children, teens and adults are now posted in our church website. Lessons will continue to be added, so check our website frequently.