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Unlimited Forgiveness

Background Music: Panalangin
    Written by: Mark Anthony Cuevas
    Voiced by: Shirly Benedictos

September 17, Sunday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: First reading: Sirach 27:30–28:7; Second reading: Romans 14:7-9; Gospel: Matthew 18:21–35

Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? (Matthew 18:32)  

Today’s gospel is about the importance of forgiveness in the spiritual realm. Answers to two questions: “How should we forgive others?” and “Why should we forgive others?” would reveal the importance of forgiveness.

How should we forgive others?
We get the answer to this question from Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question. Peter asks the Lord, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?” (Mt 18:21). Peter expected words of appreciation from Jesus, thinking that the master would appreciate his readiness to forgive seven times. But Jesus said, “I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven."  (Mt 18:22).  

Jesus’ reference to ‘seventy-seven times’ means the practice of unlimited forgiveness. What is important here is not the number of times a Christian forgives his fellow brethren, but how a Christian forgives others. Jesus invites us to practice ‘unlimited forgiveness’ because God’s forgiveness is unlimited, just as His love is unconditional and His compassion is constant.

Jesus asks us to use our hearts, not our minds, in dealing with offenders. The mind calculates and counts, just as Peter calculated seven times to forgive. But the heart does not count. Forgiveness comes from a compassionate heart!

Why should we forgive others?
From a subjective point of view, the normal answer to this question would be that Christians are supposed to forgive others because Jesus commanded us to do so. But today’s gospel gives a more unique answer to this question, which can be, We as Christians are supposed to forgive others because we ourselves are forgiven, sinners”.  

The experience of forgiveness that we receive in our day-to-day lives for the numerous sins we commit through our thoughts, words, and deeds should prompt us to forgive others. In today’s gospel parable, the unforgiving servant was supposed to be merciful to his fellow servants as he was exempted from a huge debt (Mt 18:33).

From an objective point of view, while Jesus tried to set everyone free from their sinful past and past titles, the Pharisees and scribes tried to lock sinners in the chains of their sinful past by labeling them sinners with the titles of a tax collector, publican, or prostitute.

It is interesting to see that while healing the sick, very often Jesus told them, Your sins are forgiven, instead of announcing to them that they were cured.’

The experience of the forgiveness of sins makes people new creations by setting them free from their past. It helps them taste the kingdom of God. We shall gain many for the kingdom through the ministry of forgiveness. Amen!


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.