The Power of Forgiveness

 
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Tuesday of 19th Week, based on Matthew 18:21-19:1

Then Peter came and said to Jesus, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.


Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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About Ruth Anne Henderson, O.P.

Born and raised in Scotland, she was a university teacher in Wales until moving in 1979 to Italy, where until her recent retirement she was a professor of English Language at the University of Turin. She was President of the European Council of Lay Dominican Fraternities from May 2011 to May 2014, and is now lay assistant to the Promoter General of Dominican Laity, Br Rui Carlos Lopes.

3 thoughts on “The Power of Forgiveness

  1. Manny, you did forgive – however long it took you. That’s a wonderful thing. Everyone has some story that still hurts – we just need to keep trying until forgiveness is complete.
    Mary Ellen, thank you so much. It’s so encouraging when someone finds a homily useful – I know I often do.
    God bless you both.

  2. I never thought about it as forgiving the SAME sin 77 times. Very good insight. ..thank you!

  3. I remember being mugged on the street a number of years ago by three young hoodlums. Whenever that passage in Matthew comes up, I think of that incident. Even though it was essentially nonviolent, though they threated violence with a weapon, it took a long time to come to peace with it. The mugging felt a violation as they put their hands on me and through my pockets. It was hard to forgive. It took a while, a few years. I don’t know how some who experience real trauma from an encounter go on to forgive, and some you hear almost immediately forgive. They are truly saintly. When you experience a physical violation, one’s nervous system builds up a raction to it. It is an incredible hurdle.

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