likens us to God
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
March 14, 2023
THAT’S what we can learn
from that parable about a servant whose debt with his master was
forgiven but could not forgive the debt of his fellow servant. (cfr.
The parable was said
because St. Peter asked Christ how many times one should forgive his
neighbor. He was trying to be magnanimous when he asked if one
should forgive his neighbor 7 times, which in the culture of that
time meant many. Christ corrected him by saying, not only 7 times,
but 70 times 7, which means always.
In that parable, the
master clearly told the servant who could not forgive the debt of
his fellow servant that he should forgive the debt of his fellow
servant as he himself, the master, forgave servant’s debt.
“You wicked servant,” the
master told the servant. “I forgave you your entire debt because you
begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?”
Again, we have to remember
that since we have been created in God’s image and likeness, we
should try our best to be like God who has fully manifested himself
in Christ. How God is, how Christ is, should also be how we should
be. In short, we can only have that forgiving heart if we truly
identify with Christ.
That surely would require
grace which is actually abundantly and gratuitously given. But that
grace requires our human cooperation. We need to develop in
ourselves, no matter difficult the challenge is, the appropriate
attitude and virtues for this purpose.
We have to learn how to be
always forgiving. Yes, the requirements of justice also have to be
met, but forgiveness should always be given even while the
requirements of justice still have to be processed.
One may ask: why should
that be? Why should forgiveness be given even if the cause of
justice is not yet resolved? The answer can only be seen when we
consider who we really are. We are men and women, made in the image
and likeness of God. Regardless of how we are, whether sinner or
saint, that basic dignity of man cannot be erased.
This dignity of man is
alluded to in one of the psalms: “What is mankind that you are
mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made
them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and
honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put
everything under their feet…” (Ps 8,4-6)
Yes, we have the dignity
of being children of God, and not just one more creature of his. No
matter how much we misbehave, God, being a father, will do
everything to bring us back to him. And that’s what Christ precisely
did for us. He even went to offer his life on the cross, offering
forgiveness to those who crucified him.
God cannot forget and
abandon us just because of our sins. “Can a mother forget the baby
at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Is 49,15)
Indeed, God will do
everything to bring us back to him. And it’s up to us to show at
least some signs of repentance for our sins and to accept the
eternal mercy of God. If we do the same to one another, we obviously
would make ourselves like God as we ought to be!