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A Prayer for Forgiveness

Homily for Tuesday of the 3rd Week in Lent

The parable of the unforgiving servant from today's Gospel illustrates one of the most fundamental problems of our flawed humanity; namely, we find it almost impossible to forgive. "Forgive and forget," says the adage. Once someone has hurt us, however, the scars from that hurt, physical as well as emotional, are always present. In truth, the fundamental difference between the human and the divine is the ability to forgive.

 

There are those who will characterize forgiveness as a weakness, yet it is God's strength that makes forgiveness possible. There are those who credit forgiveness as foolishness, yet it is God's wisdom that informs his generous, almost prodigal, approach to sinners.

 

God's sole desire is for us to be one with God. God wants a relationship. Despite the fact that we constantly rebel, God's desire for that relationship makes forgiveness God's top priority.

 

Forgiveness is a gift. However, as the parable illustrates, if we fail to give this gift as a gift, we declare ourselves unworthy of God's generosity.

 

Azariah’s prayer taken from the Book of Daniel is both a confession of guilt and a prayer for forgiveness. It even contains what we would call a firm purpose of amendment. Freely admitting one’s sins is the first step in healing our relationship with God and with one another.


Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

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