On this tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, it is providential that the Church offers the profound reflection that Jesus offers to Peter in response to his question ‘how often must I forgive?’ The answer that Jesus gives to Peter’s already generous question – as many as seven times, when the standard Rabbinic answer at that time was three times – is stunning.

Whether we interpret the Greek text (ἕως ἑβδομηκοντάκις ἑπτά) to mean seventy-seven or seventy-times-seven, the point of this declaration and the parable that follows is clear – in the way of the kingdom of heaven, there can be no limit to the number of times that we forgive. Yet learning how to live like this – especially in the face of the world that we live in – requires a profound understanding of the nature of forgiveness.

Perhaps it is a bit like learning to breathe again?

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Recorded at SJV, 8.30am (8’54”)
Sunday 24, Year A. Matthew 18:21-35.