Monday, March 12, 2012

Tuesday in the Third Week of Lent - 2012

Once again we are at a famous place in biblical history:  Peter asking Jesus if there is a specific number of times he should forgive others.  Peter, of course, let's the answer he expects to surface before Jesus could answer.  Seven times seem quite adequate for Peter.  I suspect that for most of us today, seven times is extraordinarily generous.  Jesus surprises Peter with his answer.  "Peter, multiply that number times eleven!"  Wow!  You have to be kidding me!  In essence Jesus is teach us that there really should be no limit to the number of times we should forgive another person.

Of course we know how many times God forgives us, don't we?  Every time a person comes to a priest for confession, God forgives.  Think for this moment:  what is the sin that I confess over and over again?  Okay.  Now this question:  How many times is your "over and over again"?  How would you feel if I, as a confessor, said to you after you had mention to me the same sin for the unteenth time these words:  "Sorry, friend,  you have used up all the points on your confession card.  No more forgiveness of that particular sin.  You are up the creek if you cannot control yourself now!"  What would you say?  What would you think of God and Jesus and all his sufferings and death so that you could make the effort to repent for a particular sin as well as others if there was a quota system?

We know that with God there is not quota; there is no time limit on his forgiveness.  But here is an interesting reality that recently was presented to me.  About certain things in life we sometimes will say, "It takes two to tango."  In some particular action or activity one person alone is not involved.  Forgiveness is one of those experiences where we are truly required to work hand in hand with another person.    Did you ever think about that person who had offended you?  Not only does that person have to extend his sorrow for his/her action but that same person has put you in the very difficult position of willingly giving you his/her forgiveness.  Giving forgiveness to one who is seeking pardon is not always as easy as hearing the offender say, "I am sorry.  Please forgive me."

Interesting insight isn't it?  This was presented by a law professor at Creighton University, Professor Edward Morse.  It surely is something to chew on!