BY: Fr. Andrew Ekpenyong.


1. Great Moments. In my opinion, there are perhaps more instances of forgiveness, than the number of people who have ever lived, because each person has had to forgive many times. Hence, there are billions of inspiring stories of forgiveness. Let’s pick a few. The John Templeton Foundation, true to its goal of supporting progress in religious and spiritual knowledge, published in its journal, Character, A Journal of Everyday Virtues, a list titled “Ten Great Moments in Forgiveness History”. Briefly, they listed: 1. 8th Cent. BC, the Sabine women implore the Sabine men not to attack their Roman abductors. 2. AD 29, Christ forgives from the cross. 3. 13th Cent., Genghis Khan spares the life of blood-brother turned revolt leader Jamukha. 4. April 9, 1865, Union General Joshua Chamberlain salutes Confederate soldiers on the eve of the surrender at Appomattox. 5. 1947. Corrie ten Boom shakes hands with guard from Nazi Concentration Camp where she and her sister had been held. 6. Dec. 27, 1983, Pope John Paul II visits his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca who shot him in St Peter’s Square, and forgives him. 7. Rep John Lewis, severely beaten during the civil rights movement, writes in New York Times, asking that George Wallace, former segregationist governor of Alabama, be forgiven. 8. 1990. Nelson Mandela, released after 20 years of imprisonment calls for forgiveness of apartheid perpetrators. 9. 2003, Reo Hatfield and Bo McCoy sign truce on CBS, ending more that a century-old family feud. 10. Oct 2, 2006, within hours of the school shootings that left 5 little Amish girls dead, the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, visit the killer’s wife to offer comfort and support to her, since the killer had killed himself. A Psychiatrist, Dr Steven Moffic added the 11th: 2015, relatives of the dead forgive Dylann Roof for killing 9 church members during their Bible Study inside their church in Charleston, South Carolina. Finally, the 12th great moment of forgiveness history is yours. Yes, please recall your own greatest act of forgiveness, so far. Thank you for forgiving. All the Scripture readings today offer us reasons to forgive more, in fact, to forgive always, or seventy-seven times (Mt 18:22). This is the big challenge: forgiving always.


2. Further Motivation. In Christianity, love is the greatest commandment and today’s Gospel acclamation reminds us: “I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 13:13). The command to love directly implies the command to forgive. This is the message of all three Scripture readings: Sirach 27:30—28:7; Rom 14:7-9. Matt 18:21-35. In summary, refusing to forgive, is “illegal” in Christianity. Refusing to forgive is against the law of Christ, the law of Love, the law of forgiving. But that is a difficult ideal. No wonder our Lord told a parable in today’s Gospel reading to give a strong basis for such a difficult ideal, namely, our own need of forgiveness from God. In the parable, the master summoned the servant and said to him, ‘You wicked 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?’ The lesson is clear. Our Lord even included the lesson in the prayer He taught us: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. Today’s 1st reading (Sirach 27:30—28:7) sounds exactly like the Gospel: “Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.” Yet, sisters and brothers, we know that sometimes it is very difficult to forgive and almost all of us are guilty of failing in this Christian ideal to forgive always. It is indeed a difficult Christian ideal.

3. Give it my all. In his work, “What’s Wrong with the World”, G.K. Chesterton wrote: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” So true. On Saturday, 9th Sept, 2023, immediately after winning the US Open for her 1st Grand Slam, 19-year old Coco Gauff, ran to the stands, embraced her family and coaches, then she immediately headed back to the tennis court, knelt at her chair, put her hands together and bowed her head in prayer to God. At the prize presentation, she was asked how important faith was to her. “It’s been so important,” “I don’t pray for results, I just ask that I get the strength to give it my all and whatever happens happens. I’m so blessed in this life….” That is a powerful lesson for all of us playing the tournament of life. We should not pray to defeat any other human being. We should just pray, like Coco Gauff, to get the strength to give it our all. Interestingly, one of the things that distracts us from giving our all is unforgiveness. Whenever we refuse to forgive, we become distracted. May the Lord give us the strength to forgive always, so that we may give our all to endeavors that build God’s kingdom of justice, love, and peace. Amen.


Dearest Friend of Homily Hub, We need about $1350 to pay up our subscription debts. We do not only publish the Word of God, we also have a charity Foundation. We accept donations as low as $5. Please, listen to the voice of God in your heart, you could be an answer to our prayers to God. You can also send checks. Fill the simple form below to Donate>>>