The Book of Sirach, the Psalmist and the Lord all proclaim the same message: God forgives us and demands that we forgive one another.
Tag Archives: Forgive
Following Christ means that we are people who consistently and adamantly seek out opportunities to forgive. Forgiveness is essential…for our journey through this life and our admission to the next.
Study: Recall a time when you made a serious mistake. What steps did you take to make it right? Do you have any unfinished work that needs to be done?
Pray: Saying “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” can be very difficult; don’t try it alone! Ask the Lord for the grace and strength.
Serve: How can you help another on the path to repentance? How might you encourage people to seek healing and forgiveness?
Remember back in elementary school when we all learned long division? Perhaps you remember some of those really long problems that took a whole sheet of paper to write? I recall the excitement when I found the answers at the end of the book, only to have my hopes crushed when the dreaded words “show your work” were part of the instructions…
To demonstrate the exercise our 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Tempesta, would put a problem on the chalk board and demonstrate line by line, showing the work and how the process repeats until you made your way through the entire problem. At the end you would have the answer, with all the work to prove it.
I remember asking Mrs. Tempesta what would happen if you made a mistake early on in the process. She smiled and repeated the problem along side the original – with one tiny mistake. The wrong answer at the end of the work glared at our class; when we asked what do you do if your answer doesn’t match the solution in the book, she replied, “You have to start at the beginning, find your mistake, and rework a new solution.”
Welcome to repentance.
We all make mistakes: we say things we can’t take back; do things we regret; allow things to happen that we’d give anything to erase. And while we can’t change the past our faith tells us that we have a process that can bring healing and restore relationships. Like long division, we find our mistakes, REPENT, and rework a solution that follows a new path of behavior.
The words “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” are some of the most powerful in any language. The first reading and the Gospel today are especially adamant that we take them to heart – repenting of our sins and choosing a Godly path that brings healing to our lives. Remember: God never gives up on us! The process looks like this:
- We run through our own personal examination of conscience
- We admit it – perhaps directly or in the Sacrament of Confession
- We are sorry for the hurt we have done, acknowledging our sins/mistakes
- We do our part to make it right – doing what we can to fix and heal
- We call upon God’s healing grace and strength
Perhaps it’s been awhile since we stepped into a confessional. Perhaps it’s been awhile since we have honestly looked into our hearts. Today we can take a moment to look inside, see what doesn’t belong, and make the move to repent of our sins and turn to the Lord. May we see in the example of Jonah and Jesus today that we have hope; God keeps calling – inviting us to turn away from sin and embrace the Good News.
And if you are looking for some help in checking out your heart, try these options for an Examination of Conscience.
Note: This post was originally published on January 19, 2015.
Jesus teaches about forgiveness through a parable, reminding us that as we have been forgiven by God for our sins we are directed to forgive one another as well.
- Because the Lord commands us
- To imitate the Lord’s example
- To be freed from the bondage of sin
And so…to whom do we have to say “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” today?
As Jesus teaches the disciples the Lord’s Prayer he also reveals the power of forgiveness to transform and heal our lives. This commandment – at times difficult to carry out – is crucial for us to receive the Lord’s forgiveness as we forgive one another.
Study: Recall a time when you carried out a difficult command. What gave you strength?
Pray: Is there a difficult situation facing you right now? Draw near to Christ in the Eucharist for wisdom and courage.
Serve: Actions speak louder than words…so how can your actions today show others that Christ is your King?
We conclude the Church’s liturgical calendar with this Feast in honor of our Lord. The title is one that speaks to a role that appears in history, literature, and culture: the KING.
Here are some common key points to remember:
- The King is recognized as ruler
- The King’s power is acknowledged
- The King’s decrees are to be obeyed
Sounds simple, right? So how do we apply these concepts to Jesus? Consider this:
- If Christ is the ruler of my life, then all my words and actions must align with Him.
- I turn to Christ for strength in my moments of powerlessness.
- I act on Christ’s commands, obeying His teaching and precepts.
Practically, I suggest that we focus this week on three key commandments that Christ gave us:
- Forgive one another. Reread chapter 18 in Matthew’s gospel for a review.
- Come to Mass. Check out chapter 6 in John’s gospel, or Mt. 26:26-28.
- Love one another. Try John 15:12-17 for a refresher!
Remember: the King commands us to forgive, receive Him in the Eucharist, and love one another. These are not suggestions, or helpful hints when we have free time! These are commands…and as we acknowledge that Jesus is our King we also know that we can draw near to the Lord for the strength and wisdom we need to carry them out.
This icon of Christ Pantocrator is on loan to the Cathedral of Christ the King from Fr. Andrew Ricci. “Pantocrator” may be literally translated into “Ruler of All” or “Almighty” and it is an ancient way of depicting Jesus.