YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 19TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: FORGIVE WITHOUT LIMIT
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Mt. 18:21-9:1) Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel Jesus tells His apostles not only to forgive seven times but seventy Seven times. It means we must forgive without limit. This is radical because revenge, getting even, and retaliation are the orders of the day during Jesus’ time. If forgiveness is given, once or twice is enough. Thus, the seven suggested by Peter was already a generous one. The reason of the Lord is obvious. He does not want anyone whom God entrusted to Him be lost. God has trust in His creation. Nobody is so evil that he does not deserve forgiveness. In other words, there is that inherent goodness in everyone which must be summoned and put into action.
Jesus illustrated this mercy and compassion with the parable of the unforgiving servant. The servant was forgiven by his master but did not do the same to his fellow servant which actually had lesser debt than him. Such servants or persons deserve to be punished. How can they not forgive when they were forgiven? This was taught by Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer;”Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It means that we ought to tender forgiveness to others in as much as we were tendered forgiveness by our Father. Unfortunately, we think other wise. We believe we deserve to receive forgiveness but others do not.
This is one sickness that ails our society today. We set different standards to people. Others, we believe must be forgiven. Others, sadly, we believe deserve to be punished. It even becomes more one sided when the one involve is a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or our selves. Can you imagine if God will do the same with us? We should just be thankful that God plays no favourites. There is no sin He cannot and will not forgive. God reminds us that we change not because of the punishment but because we are loved. And one expression of His love is forgiveness.
We should see forgiveness as an opportunity to do good rather than a burden or being played for a fool. If we think about it, how many times have we really made an act of forgiveness? For if we had really forgiven we would always welcome the opportunity to do so. It is not only a good feeling but a great privilege to be an agent to put an end to divisions, share God’s mercy to others, and be appreciated for being like God in being compassionate.