Message of the Week

Lord, If My Brother Sins Against Me, How Often Must I Forgive?

The Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Why should we forgive those who hurt us?  The gospel this Sunday gives three reasons: First because Jesus commands it.  Second, forgiveness is part of loving one another.  And third, because we want to be forgiven for our sins.

Here Jesus commands us to forgive unceasingly, without limit.  Now that could be a challenge for even the most patient person.  Does it mean we have to let someone hurt us over and over?  No, it is possible to forgive someone and also prevent them from hurting us, if we do it with love (the second reason.)  For instance, we might forgive an alcoholic family member but still insist that they get help.  Since forgiveness is part of love, it is also part of tough love.

That leads to the third reason: We forgive because we have been forgiven.  Jesus has already died for our sins.  If we truly believe that Jesus is risen and that we will rise to eternal life with him in spite of our sins, how can we refuse to forgive someone who hurts us?

Tom Schmidt, Diocesan Publications

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time | USCCB

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