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Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica i...
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Some folk are fond of saying that the teachings of Jesus are impossible to live.

“How often should I forgive – seven times?” asked Peter (no doubt believing himself to be typically magnanimous)
“Pffft!”, replies Jesus, “not seven. Try seventy times seven!”

This was yesterday’s lection, and Ben Smith, our guest speaker, sought to relate it to his report on our local inter-church Food Bank by pointing to the stance of compassion  that underpins the Gospel. That is, if one’s basic stance to life is one of compassion, the ability to forgive is a by-product. Other fruits are empathy, selflessness, community, mutual dignity, humility.

Yesterday was also 9/11 and it’s here that “seventy times seven” arises as a a significant challenge. Does 490 cover the initial 3000 and the 100s of 1000s that followed?
I’m sure Jesus wasn’t suggesting his disciples might carry around an abacus so they could stop when 490 was reached. My guess is he was believing they would be so practiced in forgiving that the momentum would keep carrying them forward!

Naive? Some folk find such teachings so naive they actually work!

Here’s a Melbourne aboriginal artist putting 70 x 7 to the test. I wonder how it will work out? Preview: Seventy Times Seven – Local News – News – General – Melbourne Weekly.

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