The parable of the unforgiving servant from today's Gospel illustrates one of the most fundamental problems of our flawed humanity; namely, we find it almost impossible to forgive. "Forgive and forget," says the adage. Once someone has hurt us, however, the scars from that hurt, physical as well as emotional, are always present. In truth, the fundamental difference between the human and the divine is the ability to forgive.
There are those who will characterize forgiveness as a weakness, yet it is God's strength that makes forgiveness possible. There are those who credit forgiveness as foolishness, yet it is God's wisdom that informs his generous, almost prodigal, approach to sinners.
God's sole desire is for us to be one with God. God wants a relationship. Despite the fact that we constantly rebel, God's desire for that relationship makes forgiveness God's top priority.
Forgiveness is a gift. However, as the parable illustrates, if we fail to give this gift as a gift, we declare ourselves unworthy of God's generosity.
Our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate the need to forgive once a year at Yom Kippur. The essential task of this high holy day is not the Temple or synagogue service that is observed, but the attempt to rebuild the bridge that sin has torn down so that the relationship can be restored. Would that Lent would bring about the same resolve.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator