In this Sunday’s reading from Romans, Paul questions why we judge one another, since we all stand before the judgment of God. Yet we do sin against one another, and Jesus’ challenge that we forgive seventy-seven times reveals God’s boundless mercy. When we hear the words of forgiveness in worship and sign ourselves with the cross, we are renewed in baptism to be signs of reconciliation in the world.
Joseph reconciles with his brothers
Lord, you are full of compassion and mercy
Accepting diversity in the community of faith
A parable of forgiveness in the community of faith
Worship Themes and Music
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells us to forgive one another 77 times. Rather than take this advice as a chance to take someone off our “forgiveness lists” after 77 instances of forgiveness, perhaps the number 77 is meant to demonstrate a never-ending cycle of forgiveness. After all, God’s forgiveness springs eternal for we humans who have all fallen short of the glory of God. Therefore, our readings today point toward God as the ultimate example of unconditional love and forgiveness and we are encouraged to attempt to emulate.
In our hymn of the day this week we celebrate God’s loving forgiveness, remembering Jesus’ laying down of his life for us. Such forgiveness is linked to our sacramental life together and we are called to share the same love of God. The final stanza of the hymn says it well:
Together met, together bound by all that God has done,
we’ll go with joy to give the world the love that makes us one,
the love that makes us one.
Where can you practice forgiveness in your life?
What makes forgiving one another so difficult?
Jesus denied himself for reconciliation and we are called to do the same. In what situations might we be able to give up something we want for the sake of the healing of the world?