Vatican City, Sep 13, 2020 / 04:45 am
We cannot demand God’s forgiveness for ourselves unless we are prepared to forgive our neighbors, Pope Francis said in his Angelus address Sunday.
Speaking from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square Sept. 13, the pope said: “If we do not strive to forgive and to love, we will not be forgiven and loved either.”
In his address, the pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading (Matthew 18:21-35), in which the Apostle Peter asked Jesus how many times he was required to forgive his brother. Jesus replied that it was necessary to forgive “not seven times but seventy-seven times,” before telling a story known as the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.
Pope Francis noted that in the parable the servant owed a vast sum to his master. The master forgave the servant’s debt, but the man did not, in turn, forgive the debt of another servant who owed him only a small amount.
“In the parable, we find two different attitudes: that of God -- represented by the king -- who forgives so much, because God always forgives, and that of man. In the divine attitude, justice is pervaded by mercy, whereas the human attitude is limited to justice,” he said.
He explained that when Jesus said we must forgive “seventy-seven times” he meant, in biblical language, to forgive always.
“How much suffering, how many lacerations, how many wars could be avoided, if forgiveness and mercy were the style of our life,” the pope said.
“It is necessary to apply merciful love to all human relationships: between spouses, between parents and children, within our communities, in the Church, and also in society and politics.”