“Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight,” proclaims Sirach, our first reading. Many of us have seen this up close and personal, in our own families, in friends and neighbors, in work groups. In pastoral work I have seen people hold on to wrath and anger even when it does them in, leaving them without the comfort of friends and family at the point of death! After hearing today’s Gospel parable about the forgiving and the unforgiving servants, Peter asks his famous question of Jesus: How often must I forgive? (Matt 18: 21-25) Forgiveness is difficult. Perhaps one reason is that we assess everything from the standpoint of fairness. We are great score keepers, remembering for years who did what to me, who owes me more than I owe them, who has gotten more than they “deserved.” When we do something a bit wrong to another, there are good and valid reasons for it, but when someone else does something wrong to me, we demand justice and fairness. Forgiveness and generosity, seen in this Gospel, go beyond fairness. The loving thing to do is way beyond the fair thing to do. Books are written about the difficult practice of forgiveness. Forgiving is not optional for a follower of Christ — as the harsh ending of this Gospel makes clear. But the good news is that we have a great teacher in Jesus, and we have his grace! So forgiveness is possible and — at least for me and perhaps you — it does seem to get easier over time!
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia