Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Forgiveness Made Real In Boston

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 17, 2017

Woodcut image of the 1834 burning of the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

In 1834, the Irish Catholics of Boston were ready to avenge the ransacking and burning of an Ursuline convent by a Protestant mob. (See also: http://www.celebrateboston.com/crime/ursuline-convent-destruction.htm) But on August 17 of that year, Bishop Benedict Fenwick preached a message of forgiveness in the cathedral and effectively stopped any retribution and bloodshed. Matthew’s gospel today (Matthew 18:21—19:1) challenges us to forgive unconditionally. It is possible. Forgiveness works. We all have someone we could forgive today. It can make a real difference.

—//—

21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

1When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan.

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