“Forgive us as we forgive”
24th Sunday in ordinary time
The 5th petition of the Lord’s Prayer states “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Mt 5:12, Lk 11:2-4, Mk 11:25, Col 3:13, Eph 4:32-34, CCC 2838-2845. When we pray the OUR FATHER, the Lord will say to us be watchful for what you pray? Why? “Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times and says ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Lk 17:3-4. Why? “Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. Sirach 27:30-28:7.“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Mt 6:14-15. But Lord, that’s an awful lot for us to forgive someone who sins that often especially against us! The Lord said “Even the just man falls seven times a day.” Prov. 24:16.
But Lord, why should we show that much mercy? The Lord said “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Mt 7:1-5. “…should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?… So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” Mt 18:32-35. The Lord showed us that mercy is to give something to someone that which they don’t deserve. The mercy of God we receive is a gift that we give to others.“… and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” Ex 33:19. “You received without pay, give without pay.” Mt 10:7-8.
Then the Lord posed a question: How can we love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see? 1Jn 4:19-21. As one human family, we are all children of our heavenly Father in need of mercy. In refusing to forgive, our hearts are closed, hardened and makes them impervious to the Father’s merciful love, bringing condemnation on ourselves. CCC 2840. Fellowship before worship – first be reconciled with your brother and sister. Mt 5:21-26.
Lord, what are the best reasons to forgive? (1) To err is human, but to forgive is divine. Forgiveness is an action that is purely divine: “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Mk 2:7, Lk 7:47-50. We are to be holy as God is holy. 1Pet.1:15-16. (2) The greatest of all alms is to forgive our debtors and to love our enemies. St. Augustine of Hippo. (3) “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Mt 5:7. (4). “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.” St. Francis of Assisi “… for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.” Jer 31:34, Heb 8:12,10:17. And (5) The best reason of all: Jesus forgave those who crucified Him: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Lk 23:34. He who forgives much, loves much. Lk 7:41-50. So now, how can we not forgive those who trespass against us?