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REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS

Read­ing Time: 2 minutes

Introduction

This Sunday Gos­pel (18:21–35) is a fol­low-up to that of last Sunday (Matt 18:15–20). The theme of con­flict can­not be con­cluded without touch­ing the theme of for­give­ness too. Accord­ing to Jesus, “If your broth­er or sis­ter sins go and point out his/her fault, just between the two of you. If he/she listens to you, you have won him/her over. But if he/she will not listen, take one or two oth­ers from the com­munity along, so that ‘every mat­ter may be estab­lished by the testi­mony of two or three wit­nesses.’ If the broth­er or sis­ter in ques­tion still refuses to listen, tell it to the Church; and if he/she refuses to listen even to the Church, treat him/her as you would treat a pagan or a tax col­lect­or.” If the issue is resolved in the first, second or third attempt, the next thing to is for the vic­tim to for­give the offend­er. What if after the last stage, the offend­er refuses to admit his or her fault? It means the per­son has not yet obtained forgiveness. 

How many times?

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I for­give my broth­er or sis­ter who sins against me? Up to sev­en times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not sev­en times, but sev­enty-sev­en times’” (Matt 18:21–22). After listen­ing and reflect­ing on Jesus’ guidelines on how to resolve con­flicts, in Mat­thew 18:21–35, Peter sought fur­ther cla­ri­fic­a­tion from Jesus. After reply­ing to Peter’s ques­tion, Jesus went ahead and but­tressed his response with a touch­ing story. Peter inquired from Jesus about how many times he is sup­posed to for­give his broth­er or sis­ter who offends him. Based on the bib­lic­al sig­ni­fic­ance of the num­ber 3 as com­plete­ness, Peter thought that after he might have for­giv­en his broth­er or sis­ter three times, there should be no need to keep for­giv­ing. But Jesus dis­agreed and exten­ded the for­give­ness to sev­enty times sev­en (cf. Gen 4:24 for sim­il­ar expres­sion by Abra­ham). Sev­enty times sev­en means indef­in­ite, lim­it­less. That means for­give­ness does not and should not have lim­it. How about ask­ing for for­give­ness? Should it have lim­it? In their inter­ac­tions with one anoth­er, Chris­ti­ans should not give pref­er­ence to their former reli­gious prac­tices. Instead, they should apply the stip­u­la­tions of their new reli­gious ori­ent­a­tion and espe­cially, the cri­terion of the king­dom of God as presen­ted in the Gos­pel teachings.

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPY OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE: SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vol. I)!! The reflec­tion for the 24th Sunday is found on pages 444–453. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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