Joshua 3:7-10,11,13-17; Mtt 18:21-19:1
Yesterday, Jesus told us how to win our brother who offended us back. The gospel continues today with Peter asking: LORD, HOW OFTEN SHALL MY BROTHER SIN AGAINST ME AND I FORGIVE HIM? AS MANY AS SEVEN TIMES? Jesus replied: I DO NOT SAY TO YOU 7 TIMES, BUT 70 × 7.
Wow! What does Oga Jesus mean by this ooo? Does He mean we should go and buy a big note and begin to record the wrongs of our offenders and strike after 70×7 times? No! He simply means that FORGIVENESS IS LIMITLESS! As many times as we are offended, we should forgive! Could that be what informed this popular maxim: TO ERR IS HUMAN BUT TO FORGIVE IS DIVINE? But how possible is it for us humans? We are used to forgiving TWICE AND STRIKING BACK AT THE 3RD OFFENCE SAYING; “DO ME, I DO YOU, GOD NO GO VEX!
Brethren, do u know that: TO FORGIVE IS TO SET A PRISONER FREE AND DISCOVER THAT THE PRISONER WAS YOU?
Forgiveness is an act of LIBERATION for the OFFENDER and the OFFENDED. Hence, Jesus in the prayer: OUR FATHER.. , made forgiveness, A CONDITIO SINE QUA NON (A necessary condition) for us to be forgiven by God. We just have to forgive, learn to bury the hatchet, open a fresh page in life and move on. After all: FORGIVENESS DOES NOT CHANGE THE PAST BUT ENLARGES THE FUTURE. It is difficult sometimes, but it is always possible wit THE GRACE OF GOD. Don’t let us make choices; which offence do I forgive and which do I not? If you can forgive one who insults you saying: YOU ARE MAD; Then you can forgive one who told lies against you that cost you your OIL COMPANY JOB AND BENEFITS, one who betrays and sleeps with your best friend, your husband who got a child outside marriage, your unfaithful wife, your child who duped and stole your ONE MILLION NAIRA, etc!
Beloved in Christ, do you know that, St. John Paul II, as a Pope was almost killed by MEHMET AGCA OF TURKEY, who shot him in St. Peter’s square on May 13 1981? But he forgave him! Bishop Francis Alonge (Emeritus) of Ondo Diocese was also shot once by robbers on his way to Benin for CBCN Meeting. He forgave them! St. Stephen was stoned to death, he forgave his killers (FATHER, DO NOT HOLD THIS SIN AGAINST THEM). Jesus was nailed to the Cross where He died; again, He forgave them saying: FATHER, FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING.
Please brethren, FORGIVE that person today who has wronged you! I FORGIVE ALL THOSE WHO HAVE OFFENDED ME, PLEASE, ALL THOSE I HAVE ALSO OFFENDED, FORGIVE ME!
and Pax Christi!!!
About the Author: Rev. Fr. Francis Onugha is the Parish Priest of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Lasokun, Apata, Ibadan in Nigeria. He is an avid preacher who passes God’s messages across with practical examples we see in our daily lives. He writes his Daily Chewing Stick to spread God’s word electronically to all.