Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
This Sunday’s evangelical passage (Cf. Matthew 18:21-35) gives us a teaching on forgiveness, which doesn’t deny the wrong suffered but recognizes that the human being, created in the image of God, is always greater than the evil he commits. Saint Peter asked Jesus: “how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” (v. 21). To Peter it already seems the maximum to forgive the same person seven times; and perhaps for us it seems a lot to do so twice. But Jesus answers: “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven” (v. 22), that is, always: you must forgive always. And He confirms it recounting the parable of the merciful king and of the merciless servant, in which He shows the incoherence of him who was first forgiven and then refuses to forgive.
The king of the parable is a generous man that, gripped by compassion, condones an enormous debt — “ten thousand talents”: enormous — to a servant that entreats him. However, that same servant, no sooner he meets another fellow servant who owes him one hundred denarii — that is, much less –, behaves mercilessly, having him thrown into prison. The incoherent attitude of this servant is also ours, when we refuse to forgive our brothers. While the king of the parable is the image of God, who loves us with a love so rich in mercy as to receive us, love us and forgive us continually.
Since our Baptism God has forgiven us, condoning an insolvent debt: original sin. However, that is the first time. Then, with unbounded mercy, He forgives us all our faults no sooner we show even a small sign of repentance. God is thus: merciful. When we are tempted to close our heart to one who has offended us and apologizes, let us remember the words of the celestial Father to the merciless servant: “I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (vv. 32-33). Whoever has experienced the joy, the peace and the interior freedom that comes from being forgiven, can open himself in turn to the possibility of forgiving.
In the prayer of the Our Father, Jesus wished to insert the same teaching of this parable. He put in direct relation the forgiveness that we ask of God, with the forgiveness that we must grant our brothers: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). God’s forgiveness is the sign of His overflowing love for each one of us; it’s a love that leaves us free to go away, as the prodigal son, but waits every day for our return. It’s the enterprising love of the shepherd for the lost sheep; it’s the tenderness that receives every sinner that knocks at its door. The celestial Father — our Father — is full of love and wants to offer it to us, but He can’t do so if we close our heart to love for others.
May the Virgin Mary help us to be ever more aware of the gratuitousness and grandeur of the forgiveness received from God, to become merciful like Him, good Father, slow to anger and great in love.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you all affectionately, Romans and pilgrims from different countries: families, parish groups, Associations. I greet the faithful of La Plata (Argentina), the officers of the Military School of Colombia, and the catechists of Rho. I greet the participants in the Via Pacis footrace, which has touched places of worship of the different religious Confessions present in Rome. I hope that this cultural and sports initiative can foster dialogue, coexistence and peace.
I greet the numerous young people from Loreto, accompanied by Capuchin Friars, who began today a day of reflection and meditation: you bring us the “perfume” of the Shrine of the Holy House, thank you! I also greet the Pro Loco volunteers and the walkers who today begin the relay for Assisi. <Have a> good walk!
I wish you all a good Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!
( From Zenit)