Peter in today's gospel ask the question that all of us ask at various moments in our life, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? "
In other words, Peter is wanting to know his limit. He wants to know when enough is enough. He wants to know when he has the right to push off and push away from the one who offends him.
But isn't that typical. How often do we approach events, moments, situations, with limits in mind, seeking the minimal approach or looking after the least we can do rather than looking after the most we can offer?
Peter is thinking about drawing the line in the sand where as Jesus draws circles that include.
"I say to you, not seven times but seventy seven times."
What about us?
Do we draw lines in the sand to keep out or circles to include? Do we draw people out of our lives or do we draw them in?
Forgivness is a power that Jesus has given to us. He died that we might be able to taste its fruit and having tasted it, we should lavish it on others.
I was reminded of this as I went home today. I had a burial in Shiner, my hometown, so I spent a few moments with Mom and Dad. While at home, my dad began to be as dad always was: irritable, angry, hollering especially at the grandkids.
I began to remember what it was like to grow up at home with that as a constant experience.
As I write this nowI realize, God was giving me another opportunity to forgive seventy times seven.
There is true freedom in forgiveness.
Forgiveness forced me to think about love and patience. Romano Guardini wrote these words, "Love, too, belongs to true patience-love of life. For living things grow slowly, take their time, and have many ways and turns. Life demands confidence, and only love can trust. He who does not love life has no patience with it. This leads to short circuits and to violence; then there are wounds and destruction...The power under whose protection life can unfold is patience." And Patience is possible because of forgiveness.