WORD of the DAY
So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart. (Matthew 18: 35)
Jesus says these words when Peter, in regard to this important theme of forgiveness, asks the question between naivety and danger: How many times is a Christian called to forgive? The response is peremptory…do away with half measures of ‘if’ and ‘but’.
Forgiveness is part of what Jesus has called His commandment: that of loving our neighbor as He loves us. It is the apex of love that Jesus expressed in the highest moment of His life on earth that was entirely a gift of love. When He said, “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing”, He ended in beauty, His words and actions, forgiving those who were killing Him.
This is the profound reason for the threatening words for those who do not forgive as God forgives. “If you do not forgive others, God will not forgive you”. This happens only when the heart persists in remaining closed; chooses not to forgive, using reasons that are not in conformity with the Gospel. We can ask ourselves if this can really happen. Our freedom is in play. Do I or do I not want to forgive?
Lord, help me to forgive always, beyond the judgment of condemnation that can rise in my mind. To forgive from the heart means immersing my heart in Yours, Lord Jesus. Y ou forgave at the height of Your existence. Grant that I may always have the strength and the beauty of forgiving in the events of my life.
The voice of Pope Francis in Misericordiae Vultus 9
How difficult it seems at times to forgive! And yet, forgiveness is the instrument placed in our fragile hands to attain serenity of heart. Leaving aside rancor, anger, violence, and vendetta is the necessary condition for living happily.