"Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven."(Matthew 18:21-22)_

When we offend people or when we are offended by them, we are expected to ask for forgiveness and also forgive respectively. However, it is always the case that we may be so bitter or even proud and full of our self that it will become difficult for us to forgive or ask for forgiveness and in that case, we begin to suffer.

The gospel reading of this Sunday picks up from where that of last Sunday stopped. We talked about reconciliation and Jesus gave us practical steps to follow in achieving that. Today, He takes it to another level, He tells Peter that forgiveness is not just for sometimes but for all the times. Peter proposed seven times, but Jesus said, seventy times seven, which simply means that there is no limit to forgiveness, we have the obligation to forgive others when they offend us as God forgives us when we offend Him.

In the first reading the author of the book of Sirach admonishes us not to seek revenge when we are offended, because it will make us not to be like God whom we claim to serve. If God will forgive us when we sin against Him, we have no excuse why we should not forgive those who offend us.

If we want to live for Christ as the second reading tells us, we must be ready to cultivate the habit and attitude of forgiveness, be sure it will help us to be free and it will bring us healing. To desire to seek for revenge when offended is to practice an ancient rule of (tit for tat) lex talionis(Law of Talions) which states that, if a man sustained an injury, the same was to be inflicted on the perpetrator.(Cf. Genesis 4:23-24). However, the law later started changing as we have in Leviticus 19:18 "You must not exact vengeance, nor must you bear a grudge against the children of your people. You must love your neighbour as yourself"

When you refuse to forgive your neighbour who has offended you, you tie him or her with a chord and you also tie yourself with a chord that can only be cut with the knife called, Forgiveness.

Things we gain by loving or
Forgiving those who hurt us

1. It makes us to be free and healthy. 90% of the illness we suffer in life are psychosomatic (mind related) and when our heart is bitter and filled with resentment and thirst for revenge, we can easily become sick in the body too.*

2. When you forgive, your face will glow once again and your joy, smile and happiness is restored. It enhances our look. Cf. Genesis 33:10 "Jacob said
Of Esau's face, for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God" Deep rooted hatred and resentment always show their ugly scars on our face.

3. It enriches us. When you forgive, your become light and your energy to do greater things are renewed to do greater good for the people. Unforgiveness makes us weak.

4. It reflects the image of God on us. When we forgive, we act like God. Forgiveness is the way of God and it is the way to total freedom.

5. it brings us heavenly reward. When you forgive, you open the door of heaven for yourself.*

Forgiveness is the key to a happy life here on earth. If you cannot forgive, then you cannot claim to be a friend of Jesus, who forgave us our sins on the cross of Calvary and set us free. Your freedom and healing lies in your ability to forgive those who offend you when they come asking for forgiveness and also be humble to ask forgiveness from those you have offended. The higher part of it is to forgive others even before they come to ask for forgiveness just as Jesus did on the cross.

Good morning dearest one. Smile😊as you begin your day and do have a beautiful Sunday. May God's forgiveness for your sins, move you to forgive others their trespass against you. And may the Almighty God bless you: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Meditation: Sirach 27:30-28:7/Psalm 103:1-4,9-12/ Romans 14:7-9/Matthew 18:21-35

Watch-Word: Forgive and you will be forgiven.

Forgiveness is possible if you will humble yourself and look at the price that Jesus paid on the cross for your freedom and redemption.

(Twenty Fourth Sunday of the Year. Cycle A)