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.”
There are a lot of things we read today that are shocking. I just read an article in which food experts found horse meat in a variety of meat products. This surprising news has sent shockwaves throughout the food industry. Not too long ago, I read (somewhere) that Selena Gomez receives approximately twenty to thirty marriage proposals a week. Now that may not be too surprising, but it is still very shocking. This morning I read in the news that a twelve-year-old boy has died from injuries he sustained by another student at school. It appears as though this child was kicked or punched five times in the head. Even with all the bullying and fighting going on in our schools today, this news is still shocking to most of us.
Often we think that in order for something to be shocking, it must be contemporary. Well, what I find most shocking is not the news today but what the Lord said over two thousand years ago when asked how often we must forgive our brother: “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.”
Wow! That is shocking!
Regardless of how technologically advanced we are (actually, it makes no difference at all), we might as well be living in the “Stone Age” when it comes to forgiveness. No matter what great strides we have made in daily living, not much progress has been made in this very important aspect of living. Why? Because forgiveness is a lesson that must be taught by example.
To forgive requires great honesty, great understanding, great patience, great faith, great love and a great example.
Jesus Christ supplies all our greatest needs.
I often wonder if the Lord was thinking of the sacrament of Reconciliation when He spoke these words. After all, how many of us go to confession on a frequent basis and confess the same sins over and over and over again? I personally believe that it may not only be possible to experience the real meaning of the words “seven times seventy-seven times”, but also its mathematical equivalent!
Resolution: I will confess my sins to the Lord through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I will open my heart to experience God’s mercy, compassion and love for me, a sinner. I will teach this lesson to others by showing them the same mercy, compassion and love the Lord has shared with me. By doing so, I will make my small (yet great) contribution to the progress of humanity, especially when it comes to the evolution of the human heart.