We all count the same. We really do!
After stopping a minor fracas between her twin ten-year-old sons, their mother Maria, said to them, “Say you’re sorry.” After they did, she said, “Now shake hands.” She followed with one more command, “Now hug! We’re family here!" And then she finished with, “We all count the same.”
Jesus teaches that same lesson every time He preaches about forgiveness, we all count the same, and because we do, we need both love and mercy. After He made us, God "learned" quickly that to love us He had to forgive us over and over again. And then God taught us, that if love lacks mercy, love is easily shattered.
Jesus showed us that despite our unworthiness and sinfulness, God never holds His forgiveness from us. This was evident right from creation’s start. After Adam and Eve’s betrayal and their banishment from the garden, God sought ways to become reconciled with his errant children.
When Jesus lived among us, He generously forgave the sinners He met. Jesus willingly welcomed prostitutes, received tax collectors, and accepted any other marginalized sinner He encountered. He offered each one love and mercy and showed each that they mattered and that we are all family!
Now, in gratitude, Jesus asks us who benefit from God’s limitless mercy to extend this mercy to all who offend us. Since we are forgiven unconditionally, we are to forgive in the same way. As Maria, the mother of the bickering twins demonstrated, they not only had to say I’m sorry, they had to hug each other because they were, and are, family!
Hostility fractures any family as well as any community. It mocks the mercy God freely offers. Remember, a forgiving act always returns with its own gift of mercy. Jesus reminds His followers then, and us now, to forgive neighbors, because we really do all count the same before God because we are His family too!