Read­ing Time: 3 minutes



This Sunday’s 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 on the theme of for­give­ness too. Accord­ing to Jesus, “If your broth­er or sis­ter sins, go and point out his or her fault, just between the two of you. If he or she listens to you, you have won him or her over. But if he or 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 or she refuses to listen even to the Church, treat him or 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 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 a sim­il­ar expres­sion by Abra­ham). Sev­enty times sev­en means indef­in­ite and lim­it­less. That means for­give­ness does not and should not have a lim­it. How about ask­ing for for­give­ness? Should it have a limit?


That Jesus asked us to love our enemies and pray for those who per­se­cute us (cf. Matt 5:44; Luke 6:27–28) does not mean we should mal­treat people. People should not hold on to Jesus’ words to con­tin­ue to sin against oth­ers. It is an abuse of the words of the Gos­pel. The same Jesus who says to pray for your per­se­cutors also says to do to oth­ers what you would want oth­ers to do to you. In oth­er words, if you know what you do not want done to you, then do not do that to oth­ers. Jesus calls this the golden rule’ (cf. Matt 7:12). If Peter should for­give sev­enty times sev­en, then the broth­er or sis­ter who sins against him should as well ask for for­give­ness sev­enty times sev­en. That is, we should always be ready and will­ing to for­give, and espe­cially to ask for for­give­ness. Luke makes this more expli­cit when he instructs that if your broth­er or sis­ter sins sev­en times a day and sev­en times comes to you and says, I repent, I am sorry, you must for­give him or her (cf. Luke 17:4).

SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vols. I‑II-III)!! The reflec­tion for the 24th Sunday of the year (A) is found in
The Word of Life, vol. I, 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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