There is a popular saying that to err is human, while to forgive is Divine.
That is to say, that the one who sins acts humanly. This is because, it is part of our attributes as humans to err or to sin.
On the other hand, the one who forgives acts Divinely. This is because, to forgive is to participate in a very important attribute and nature of God. That is, His Divinity. It is what our God is known for, His infinite Love and Mercy for us.
The first reading of today focuses on forgiveness. Sirach urges us: “Forgive your neighbor the hurt he does to you, and when you pray, your sins will be forgiven.” This is a call to liberate others, in order to liberate and heal ourselves too.
This Sunday’s gospel passage offers us a lesson on forgiveness which does not deny wrongdoing, but recognizes that human beings, created in God’s image, are always greater than the evil they commit.
Saint Peter asks Jesus: “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”. To Peter, forgiving the same person seven times already seemed the maximum possible. And perhaps to us it may already seem too much to do so twice.
But Jesus answers, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven”, meaning ALWAYS. You must ALWAYS forgive.
From the time of our Baptism, God has forgiven us, releasing us from an intractable debt: Original Sin, the sin committed by Adam and Eve.
Through God’s infinite love and mercy, we continue to receive His forgiveness of our sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Granted that during this Pandemic we are unable to receive the Sacrament as we once received it, but the Sacrament is still available by appointment if you call Fr. Michael.
Then, with boundless mercy, God continues to forgive us all our faults to this very moment as soon as we show even the least sign of repentance.
In the Responsorial Psalm (Psalm # 103) just heard we recall the following words:
THE LORD IS MERCIFUL AND GRACIOUS; SLOW TO ANGER AND ABOUNDING IN STEADFAST LOVE.
Anyone who has experienced the joy, peace and inner freedom which come from being forgiven should open him or herself up to the possibility of forgiving others in turn.
Jesus wished to introduce the teaching of this parable into “The Our father”. He linked the forgiveness which we ask from God, with the forgiveness that we should accord our brothers and sisters: “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
God’s forgiveness is the symbol of His “overflowing” love for each of us. It is the love that leaves us free to distance ourselves, like the prodigal son, but which awaits our return every day.
It is the resourceful love of the Shepherd for the lost sheep.
It is the tenderness which welcomes each sinner who knocks at His door.
The Heavenly Father — Our Father —, is full of love and He wants to offer it to us, but He cannot do so if we close our heart to love towards others.
Jesus tells us to forgive all, and forever.
What does it mean to forgive all and forever? It means something much deeper.
It means to restore unity.
To believe that it is possible to walk together towards a common goal.
It means to heal a wound, without leaving a scar.
Finally, he who forgives act like Christ.
So, as we pray today the” Our Father” at this Eucharistic celebration, let us FOCUS when we come to these words: -
“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,”
Let us ask God to help us to be true to these words, by living them practically, every day of our life.
May God Bless you all.