Thursday of the 19th Week
Matthew 18: 21-19:1
Today we are so blessed to have our teachers and support staff to worship with us. Our teachers have been entrusted to teach many things to their students; there will be reading, writing, arithmetic, history, religion and many other things. All of this will be done with great preparation and great skill. Our readings today challenge us to another lesson, a lesson about how to learn to forgive.
In our first reading, Ezekiel tells the people they are a rebellious people; they do not know how to forgive, they have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear. God tells Ezekiel to pack a bag, and in broad daylight dig a hole in the wall of the city and crawl through that hole. The hole in the wall will be a symbol that they will be taken away as captives through the holes that will be made on their walls because they have not learned to forgive and turn away from sin.
In our Gospel, Peter asks, “Lord, how much should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Peter sounds pretty saintly; however, in the heart of Jesus, seven times it is not enough. Jesus tells the parable of a man who is forgiven of his debt that would be worth millions of dollars in today terms. But when the man has the opportunity to forgive a debt owed to him that is much smaller he is not able to forgive.
Forgiveness always has three parts. The first part is to know that we are forgiven by God when we ask for forgiveness. The second thing is to forgive ourselves, and how hard is this to do. We beat ourselves up for years after we have done something wrong, and finally, then after we have mastered the first two is to learn to forgive others. May the grace offered to us in this Eucharist help us to master all three levels of forgiveness?