Peter asks Jesus, “How often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? This famous question we put to Jesus seeking his mind on this topic.
Jesus response to Peter is the parable of the Unjust Steward. He is forgiven multi dollars by his Lord and extracts the last cent out of his own debtors. It is a self-explanatory teaching.
Jesus answer is that forgiveness is continual and unlimited. Jesus, by His death on the Cross has offered us this unlimited and continual forgiveness and he expects us to do the same. We can ask, “why should I forgive?” The answer is simple. “Because Jesus has forgiven me”. From the Lord’s Prayer, we say: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.
We note the setting of the story. There is a great Oriental palace and there are great amounts of money involved. The exaggeration is monumental. Millions of dollars versus cents in our language. But this is no exaggeration in heavenly terms. It really is close to the mark in terms of Salvation History and our Redemption.
Vengeance is mine says the Lord. We are given the Cross as our example of forgiveness. No matter how much we have been wronged, we are called to forgive. This is the essence of Christianity. Like all the teachings of Jesus, it is impossible without the grace of the Holy Spirit.
I am sure Peter expected a pat on the back for his question. What a surprise he got!!! We will always get the same answer, no matter how hurt we feel about things!! On our knees before the Crucifix we will learn the answer.