Commentary on the Gospel of

Nicky Santos, S.J.- Creighton's Jesuit Community and Business School


Today’s gospel reading follows the passages about dealing with one who sins against you and the parable of the lost sheep. In verses 15-20, it is suggested that you first approach this person who has sinned against you alone and try to be reconciled. If this does not work, then you take one or two other people so that they can serve as witnesses. If this does not work as well, then you bring the matter before the whole church.

Peter asks a question that was perhaps on many of the disciples’ minds: what do you do with a person who keeps sinning against you or the sheep that keeps straying from the flock? Peter thought that he was being generous with his suggestion of seven times. But Jesus’ response of seventy-seven times indicates that they can be no limit put on how much one should forgive. This is because God is always ready to forgive us. However, we will be unable to experience the fruits of this forgiveness if we are unable to forgive one another from the heart.

In the reading today, the servant was unable to experience the fruits of the master’s forgiveness of his debt because of the hardness of his heart as manifested by his unwillingness to forgive his fellow servant. There are times when we are reluctant to forgive someone because we feel we are letting them off the hook for the hurt that they caused us. Little do we realize that, in clinging on to that resentment, we are allowing that person to continue to hurt us many times over. Forgiveness allows us to let go of that hurt and to heal.

This Lent, may we be able to experience the extent of God’s forgiveness of us because we are willing to forgive each other and ourselves not just seven times but seventy-seven times, meaning always.


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