Pope Francis speaks during a meeting on September 12, 2020, with members of the “Laudato Si” Communities in the Paul VI auditorium in the Vatican. (CNS Photo / Vatican Media)
14 September 2020
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY If people would take the Gospel call to forgive one another seriously, the world would be a much better place, said Pope Francis.
“How much suffering, how much wound, how much war could have been avoided if forgiveness and mercy were our way of life,” he said Sept. 13 before reading the Angelus prayer with visitors to St. Peter’s Square.
The Pope was commenting on the reading of the Gospel of the day, Matthew 18: 21-35, in which Jesus tells his disciples to forgive “not seven times, but 77 times.”
“In the symbolic language of the Bible,” the Pope explained, “it means we are always called to forgive.”
Jesus’ counsel is especially important for family life, he said. “How many families are separated, do not know how to forgive each other? How many brothers and sisters hold grudges within? It is necessary to apply compassionate love to all human relationships: between spouses, between parents and children, within our communities, in I had it in society and in politics as well. “
In the Gospel passage of the day, Jesus emphasizes his word with the parable of the merciful king who forgives the great debt of his servant, and yet that servant refuses to forgive the small debt of another servant. When the king hears this, he hands over the man “to the torturers until he pays all the debt.”
“In the parable we find two different attitudes: God – represented by the king who forgives a lot, because God always forgives – and the person of man,” the Pope said. “The divine attitude is justice overloaded with mercy, while the human attitude is limited to justice.”
Pope Francis told people in the square that while he was celebrating Mass that morning, “I stopped, was touched by a phrase in the first reading from Sirach’s book. The phrase (in Italian Lecturer) says: ‘Remember your end and stop hate. ‘A beautiful phrase.’
“Just think,” said the Pope, “will you be in a coffin and will you take your hatred there with you? Think of your end and stop hating, stop resentment.”
Pope Francis said he knows it is not an easy command to follow because, even when one person thinks he or she has forgiven another, “resentment returns like a disturbing fly in the summer that keeps coming back.” .
True forgiveness, he said, “is not something we do in a moment; it is something constant against that resentment, that hatred that keeps coming back.”
When Christians pray the Lord’s Prayer, they say, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”
“These words contain a crucial truth,” the Pope said. “We can not ask God for forgiveness for ourselves if on the other hand we do not forgive our neighbor. It is a condition.”
Pope Francis summed up his speech: “Think of your end, of God’s forgiveness, and stop hating. Reject anger, that disturbing fly that keeps coming back. If we do not try to forgive and love, neither will we. duam. “
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