In today’s Gospel Peter asks Jesus if he should forgive his brother as many as “seven times.” Jesus responds that he should forgive not seven times “but up to seventy times seven.” The Lord, who cannot be outdone in mercy, proclaims unlimited forgiveness! To explain the extent of what He had just said, Jesus tells the story of a merciful master that forgives the large debt his servant owes him. This same servant, however, is incapable of forgiving the substantially smaller debt of a fellow servant. Sounds familiar?
In His infinite love God gifts us, unmerciful servants, His forgiveness. Yet, in our pride and arrogance we find it hard to forgive those who have wronged us. Fortunately, God’s Merciful Love goes beyond justice and urges us to do the same.
Saint Josemaría Escrivá once said, “I never needed to learn how to forgive because the Lord taught me how to love.” He knew himself to be profoundly loved by the Father and loved Him and His children as a result. Experiencing this Love made him immune to enmities. Those who lived with him tell anecdotes that reveal his admirable spirit of forgiveness. The saint would pray for those who wronged him as much as he prayed for his own and as a result he loved them with the same heart and fervor. In a world that often lives by the “an eye for an eye” principle, God calls us to look at the cross and remember that in our unworthiness we are loved by the Father and through him we are to love one another. “If you love Our Lord, there will not be a single creature that does not find a place in your heart.”- Saint Josemaría Escrivá
College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2017