It is 26th March 2019. The readings are from Daniel 3:25, 34-43; and the Gospel is from Matthew 18:21-35. Genesis of forgiveness occurs in the exodus of sinful hearts. There is no way one can forgive the other unless converted personally. Forgetfulness of God and indifference to God thrives in the soil of unrepented hearts. Indeed, all the pain and suffering are caused by the moments of unforgiving attitudes and behaviours. Charity has no place in the heart of a person who finds it hard to let go of the mistakes of the other and eventually holding on to one’s own sins. A stubborn and unrepented heart finds no meaning in forgiving the other. The first reading is the prayer of Azariah reminding God to be merciful to them as they are in furnace of pain, death and hopelessness and listing all the possible reasons why God must be merciful to them. His prayer of forgiveness is not just for himself but all the people of God in captivity. The responsorial Psalm pleads God: “Remember your mercy, Lord.” (Ps. 24:6). We go through the moments of distress, loss and disease even after a profound prayer and wonder why God did not listen to our prayers. When there is an account to be settled in the matter of forgiveness, the answer for all our prayers are delayed or denied. God cannot hold anything against forgiving believer. St. John Chrysostom hails, “Nothing makes us so like to God as a readiness to forgive.” In venting our anger, holding grudge against someone, being indifferent to the other, we need to act for the other person’s good without endangering our peace of mind. Our forgiveness must transcend beyond rituals and formalities to go through a living. We need genuinely to forgive the others from inside of our hearts with the quality that surpasses all quantity of forgiveness. The Catechism teaches us CCC 977: “Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so that “we too might walk in newness of life.” Again, we are taught in CCC 2842 “It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make “ours” the same mind that was in Christ Jesus [Cf. Gal. 5:25; Phil. 2:1,5]. Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave” us [Eph. 4:32].” In the Gospel Jesus reminds us that our prayers have impact and the influence in our lives in so far as the roots of forgiveness are tendered and cared for regularly. Most of us obtain the enormous forgiveness from God in our churches. As soon as we leave the church, we choose to forget the benevolence of God in forgiving our huge debts we owed to God, we look for the someone who owes so little and illtreat them and harass them to humiliate. We cannot expect God to forgive us, when we wish to withhold forgiveness towards the other. The unforgiving mind ruminates and broods over many sins. We cannot configure Christ in our lives when we refuse to transfigure in forgiveness. We are all too good in forgiving our sins so swiftly while we hesitate and harness to offer the forgiveness the other needs. May we not just count the number of times we have forgiven the other rather to be grateful in forgiving the other as profound as possible. More we deny the forgiveness towards the other, God delays bestowing God’s blessings on us that are due to us. Lent is the time to settle all the accounts of forgiveness. It is not enough we feel to forgive but make effort in action. When we fail to forgive, “that is how our Heavenly Father will deal with us unless we each forgive our brothers and sisters from our hearts.” (Mt.18:25). May we have a day filled with all blessings for having forgiven someone in your hearts. May God bless you.

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