At the heart of human relationships lies the harmonious relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with their ever present and eternal love. How great is God's love! To forgive is to become God-like because he makes the sun shine and rain fall both on the good and the wicked.

One day Peter asked Christ, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" And Jesus replied, "not seven times, but seventy times seven." (Mt.18:21-22) This means that God always forgives us when we turn to him in this life.

In the parable of the unmerciful servant we see a king who forgave his servant the huge amount owed to him, but soon after, the servant met a fellow servant who owed him a small amount but instead of showing mercy grabbed him by the throat and demanded to be paid. Since he could not, he had him thrown into prison. When the king heard this, he had his servant handed over to torturers until his debt was paid in full. Christ concludes,

"So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives his brother
from his heart."
(Mt. 18:35)

In this parable the king is God. The servant represents mankind who sinned in Adam against the infinite God, an infinite offense, which man could never undo. God in his mercy sent his Son to satisfy God's justice by dying on the cross as Isaiah prophesied, "He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed." (Is 53:5)

Why does God want us to forgive our brother?

To promote harmony in human relationships as a participation in life of the Trinity; to eliminate the cycle of violence which unforgiving brings about and to show God our deep appreciation for the mercy He has first shown us.

Prayer of St. Francis

1. Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord.
And where there's doubt, true faith in you.

Refrain: O Master, grant that I may never seek
so much to be consoled, as to console,
To be understood, as to understand,
to be loved, as to love with all my soul.

 

2. Make me an channel of your peace.
Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, only light.
And where there's sadness, ever joy.
(Refrain)

3. Make me an channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving of ourselves that we receive,
And in dying that we are born to eternal life.
(Refrain)

And Lead Us Not into Temptation