In today’s Gospel, Matthew tells of the time Peter went up to Jesus to ask how often he must forgive his brother if he is wronged, suggesting seven times might be a ball-park figure. But Jesus pitched another number at him – 77. The numbers are not important. Jesus was simply explaining that we must forgive constantly and not set limits on our forgiveness.
He then went on to explain how God’s mercy works, telling the parable of the king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. If we wish forgiveness for our sins then we must forgive others. Not to do this will prove a torture for us until we do so. We shall have no peace.
Our Lady’s message on the third day of the apparitions at Medjugorje repeats the message of Jesus. A call to peace and reconciliation through forgiveness. Peace, Peace, Peace! Be reconciled! Only peace. Make your peace with God and among yourselves.
God will forgive our sins when we repent and call on his mercy, but in turn he expects us to forgive our brothers and sisters and show mercy to them also – as illustrated in the parable Jesus tells in today’s Gospel.
To avail ourselves of God’s Mercy means we are called to surrender. Our Lady points this out in her messages: Surrender yourself to God so that He may hear you, console you and forgive everything inside you which is a hindrance on the way of love. June 25, 1988
She also confirms that with surrender, comes peace, a merciful gift from God: The fruit of peace is love and the fruit of love is forgiveness. I am with you and I invite all of you, little children, that before all else forgive in the family and then you will be able to forgive others. January 25, 1996
In other messages Our Lady stresses how important prayer is, to learn how to forgive: Dear children, pray with the heart to know how to forgive and how to be forgiven. (June 26, 1997) – Pray, pray, pray and you will be able to accept others with love and to forgive all who have done evil to you. September 25, 1997
Today’s Gospel clearly warns us of the consequences if we fail to forgive our brother from our heart – we will be dealt with by our heavenly Father in the same way we fail to forgive others, until the debt is paid.