Last week, I ended my reflection by commenting on how demanding the Christian path is, but it is also a path with satisfaction, since following Christ gives us life and life in abundance. Walking after Christ is doing the things that Christ did, following his example. And while last Sunday Jesus spoke to us about the importance of knowing how to correct one another (Mt 18: 15-20), today in the gospel (Mt 18: 21-35) he talks to us about forgiving.
Christian perfection is the practice of evangelical virtues, such as those we mentioned above, but it does not end there. There is more! There is always more that we have to work on, and be aware of, to grow and mature as Christians. While we think about the virtues and attitudes that each one should seek in their life as a Christian, we should keep in mind that all these things do not go in a one direction, to personal convenience. Let me explain: to correct others, but not to be corrected; be forgiven, but not to forgive; be served, but not to serve; to be loved, but not to love, ... The Christian virtues or attitudes go in two directions: correcting one's neighbor, and letting oneself be corrected by one's neighbor, loving and being loved, forgiving and being forgiven, helping and being helped, ... And this is so simple to understand if we take into account what Christ has already told us: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.” (Mt 7: 12)
In today's gospel, Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who offends him, and Peter himself suggests an amount that implies that one must forgive many times, but Jesus proposes an even greater amount, because we must forgive every time we are offended. Exactly what we would expect from those we have offended, that they forgive us every time we offend. This is not the only time that Jesus mentions something about forgiveness of offenses or sins committed. Jesus also mentions it in the Lord's Prayer: “and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Mt 6: 12). God calls us to great things, and that is why we are challenged by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to strive and surpass ourselves to be more and more Christ in us, or in the words of Saint Paul: “yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.” (Ga 2: 20). Amen.
Fr. Carlos Flores, OSA