Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
Then Peter …asked him: “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered: “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times …the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began … a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount …, and said: ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full’.… When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding: ‘Pay back what you owe’.… His master summoned him and said to him ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt …. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant?’” Mt 18,21-33
The curriculum of the university faculty of engineering includes thirty subjects, with as many examinations to be faced. Eventually, a thesis in front of a judging committee is discussed, after which successful getting through a certificate of graduation is given, where it is stated that Mr. XY is an engineer. Among the examinations to be faced there is the Science of Construction, which, practically, is the water divide between students in engineering and engineers already sketchy. The same experience has been practiced by the first disciples of Jesus and by those who undertake a conversion path. The final thesis, as it was for Peter when the Lord asked him three times: “Do you love me?”, will be about the love, but the water divide between the follower and the disciple of Jesus is formed by the acquisition of the practice of the forgiveness. The forgiveness is liberating for those who forgive and are forgiven. The forgiveness is the penultimate step in the scale of the love: the first is the pursuit of the social justice, the solidarity; the second is the compassion, the willingness to participate to the happy and sad events of the neighbour; the third is the forgiveness; the last is the choice to give the life to the Lord and to the brothers”. But why we have to forgive? It is right to forgive?” I asked me sometimes, when it was very hard to forgive. Over the years, I have given three answers to these questions. The first is that the forgiveness is an act of justice, as all of us, before or after, we need to be forgiven; the second is that we need to untie the knots of our heart and of our mind to feel to be free people, but the real answer is that Jesus from the cross forgave all of us. One day father Michele Vassallo, a very nice priest from Naples, during the mass based his homily on the forgiveness as follows: “Look – he said to us – we follow the Lord literally and we pledge to forgive seventy times seven”. Then he added: “So: 70 x 7 is 490. After we forgive 490 times, we are entitled not to forgive anymore. But – he concluded – I assure you that at that point, the forgiveness will become a standard practice in our lives”. Well, let’s try, too!