"Put up willingly with the faults of others if you wish others to put up with yours." - Don Bosco
Gospel text (Mt 6,7-15):
Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This is how you are to pray:
‘Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.’
“If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”
Today, Jesus proposes us a great and difficult target: to forgive those who offend us. And He establishes a very reasonable measure: ours: «If you forgive others their wrongs, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you either» (Mt 6:14-15). In another place, He had already given us the Golden Rule of human coexistence: «In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this sums up the Law and the Prophets» (Mt 7:12).
We want God to forgive us and would like others to forgive us too; but, on the other hand, we seem quite reluctant to do it ourselves. To apologize is kind of difficult; but to forgive is even more so. Should we be humbler, it should not be so difficult; but our pride makes it much harder. This is why we could establish the following equation: the humbler, the easier; the prouder, the more difficult. This will give us a clue to find out our degree of humility.
When the Spanish Civil War was over (year 1939), some ex-captive priests were celebrating a thanksgiving mass in a small town, somewhere in Spain. The officiating priest, after saying the words of the Lord's Prayer «and forgive us our debts», he remained speechless and was unable to go on. He could not drive himself to forgive those who had made them suffer so much in a hard labor camp, in that very same town. After a few moments of a most impressive silence, he went on with the prayer: «as we forgive our debtors». Afterwards, they asked themselves which homily had been the best one. And they all agreed: the silence of the officiating priest when he was saying the Lord’s Prayer. It is difficult, but with the Lord’s help it is possible.
Furthermore, God's forgiveness is total; it gets as far as oblivion. We tend to forget pretty soon the favors we receive, but not so much so with offenses... If married couples knew how to forget them, they would avoid, and probably overcome, many family dramas.
Let us hope the Mother of mercy helps us understanding our fellow men and forgiving them totally.