17.03.2020 — Reciprocal forgiveness

3rdweek in Lent, Tuesday – 17thMarch 2020 – Matthew 18, 21-35

Reciprocal forgiveness

In the Gospel of Matthew, forgiveness is not only relational but it is reciprocal and reliant. The fifth petition of the Lord’s prayer demands: “forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Mt 6,12). In answer to the disciples’ request Jesus teaches that forgiveness – both the giving and the receiving of it – is reciprocal; one cannot have it without doing it. This prayer is echoed as a lesson of this parable about the kingdom, reflecting it back in reverse. Forgiveness lies at the heart of our faith in God and our love of one another. Indeed Jesus teaches us that we ought to forgive our subjects in our dealings as our king, God our Father, has forgiven us. However, it is realistic that there is abysmal contrast between God’s and our forgiveness. In answering Peter’s request to understand how far forgiveness needs to go, Jesus teaches that God’s forgiveness surpasses both our deserving and our comprehension of it. We who have first been forgiven must, therefore, forgive those who have wronged us so much more lightly.