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Forgiveness Frees

March 14, Tuesday, Third Week of Lent
Dan C: 2, 11-19; Mt 18: 21 – 25

Once a group of Catholic theologians asked Vinoba Bhave, who is the spiritual successor of Mahatma Gandhi and the founder of Bhoodan Yajna (‘Land-Gift Movement) for a message. He replied, “I have no message for you other than that of Jesus Christ. And what is most unique about the message of Jesus Christ is his command to love and forgive enemies.” While the Bible presents God as the epitome of forgiveness, it also invites us to grow in the virtue of forgiveness. 

Forgiveness from God
One of the consistent themes of the Bible is that the more the people alienate themselves from God through sin, the worse they suffer. In the first reading, Azariah enumerates the amount of suffering the Israel brought upon herself because of sin: (i) “We, O Lord, have become fewer than any other nation;” (ii) “We are brought low this day in all the world because of our sins;” (iii) “We have no ruler, or prophet, or leader;” (iv) We don’t have a temple to make an offering before you and to find mercy. 

The Bible also tells us that though, we human beings, go away from God because of sins, He, because of His abundance of love, is always ready to reach out to us so that the gulf, that was created because of alienation, is bridged. All that He expects from us is “a contrite heart and a humble spirit” (Dan 3: 39)

Forgiveness to Human Beings
One major way how human beings alienate themselves from God is by alienating themselves from fellow human beings. Alienation from others results in alienation from God. This is well-documented in the parable, narrated in the gospel today. The first servant’s reluctance to forgive his fellow servant led to his own downfall. He could not experience the abundant forgiveness of the master, because of his unforgiving attitude. It does not mean that God’s forgiveness is conditional. It simply means that we make ourselves unfit to receive God’s abundant mercy when we do not forgive others. By forgiving others more and more, we create space for God and His mercy in us more and more. 

Today’s psychology unambiguously makes it clear that forgiveness does a lot of good to one’s own self. A person with a lot of negative, revengeful attitude makes his mind tensed and stressed, which in turn makes his body produce chemical that are harmful to one’s health. Bernie Segerl, a world-famous cancer surgeon, made the patients to undergo group therapy before cancer operation. Group therapy is a psychological exercise which allows the participants to express their emotions and to experience a positive attitude. He found out that it helped them to live longer after the operation. The patients who did not go through this process and who harboured the same old revenge, after the operation got back cancer soon. 

Thus, forgiveness frees us – from our heart, anger, sickness etc. However, forgiveness is not free. It costs our ego. 


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.