September 17th 2023 24th Sunday of the Year


‘Not seven times, but seventy-seven times’


Everyone has to confront the issue of forgiveness

sometime. Forgiveness is a lovely idea until we

have someone to forgive! In the end it’s a decision.

We know the theory, but there comes a moment.

In 1943 Eric Lomax, a British army officer, suffered

severe mistreatment in a Japanese prisoner of war

camp in Thailand. Fifty years later he decided to

return to the place of his torture to meet and be

reconciled with his brutal torturer Nagase Takashi.

When asked to explain his magnanimous gesture

he replied, ‘sometime the hating must stop’. A

contrasting reaction comes from a Jewish inmate

who survived Auschwitz concentration camp. When

reflecting on his ordeal with a former colleague many

years later he proclaimed defiantly that he would

never forgive the Commandant of the camp. ‘In that

case’, replied his friend, ‘he still has you in prison’.

Forgiveness liberates. Unforgiveness enslaves.

‘The greatest form of giving is forgiving’.