The Grace of Forgiveness

Matthew 6: 7-15
Is 55:10-11/ Ps 34:4-7,16-19

If you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you either.
(Matthew 6:15)

The Lord’s Prayer is in every way
The most complete prayer there is.
As Jesus taught us how to pray,
Let’s pray it constantly for peace.

Jesus said to His disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him. Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Do not bring us to the test, but deliver us from evil.’ If you forgive others their wrongs, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive them, neither will your Father forgive you either.” (Matthew 6: 7-15)

Reflection

Our Lord taught us this prayer in order that we may seek to have a closer personal relationship with His Father. The first word, “Our” denotes unity with all of God’s children, as well as with His Beloved Son. That single word brings the Supreme Being, Creator of the Universe to us as a loving, caring Father. And so we ask Him each day to sustain and nourish us, not only with food on the table, but with the Body of His Son in the Eucharistic meal. More importantly, we also say this prayer for peace. But we cannot have true peace unless we are penitent of our sins and ask for God’s forgiveness (knowing the gravity of His sacrifice for their remission), and pledge to likewise forgive those who wrong us, so that we may be considered worthy to be His children.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mt. 5:44) I remember a friend who was bitter towards a person for many years. This person had cost him his hard-earned money in a failed business venture. He had wanted to help the young man, and had hired him to manage his livestock farm. But because of negligence and unexplained expenses, the business failed, causing the loss of more than a million Pesos. Many years later, already in the renewal, he and his wife learned that the daughter of that person was dying of cancer. Filled with compassion, his wife convinced him to pay the man and his sick daughter a visit in the hospital. If only for the sake of the young man’s dying daughter, my friend put aside his bitter feelings and forgave the man, even offering words of consolation. On this happy closure, the daughter died peacefully afterwards, having witnessed the great reconciliation. But just two days later, my friend suffered a heart attack, and was also called home by his heavenly Father, as if He had just waited for His son to leave this world on a clean slate.

Lord Jesus, we thank You for teaching us how to pray to God, our Father, so that we may always be trusting in His mercy and to learn the value of forgiveness. Amen.

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