Lent is a time of repentance and conversion and as a fruit of these, we ask for God’s forgiveness and mercy. But the call of the Lenten season I believe is not just for us to ask our Lord to forgive us, but for us to be forgiving to others as well. Forgiving others is something that is truly not easy to do and maybe that is the reason why we are often brought to hear the call for us to forgive those who have wronged us, especially in this season of Lent. In one of the Gospel readings during one of the daily Masses this past week, Peter asked Jesus: “How often must I forgive my brother?” and Jesus in his reply basically said, “always” and that is not something that is easy to do.
Often when we are offended we will have a hard time letting go of the pain and we will have a hard time forgiving the offender. We would say he or she does not deserve to be forgiven.
While reflecting on this, I realized that no one deserves forgiveness. The word “deserve” implies a right, but then being forgiven is not a right – it is a privilege or a gift given by the offended.
So let us remember that we forgive those who have wronged us not because they deserve it or they have the right to it but because we have been given the gift of forgiveness first by God whom we have all offended. And as people of God, we have to do the same and give the gift of forgiveness to those who might be needing it from us.
This season of Lent, let us give the gift of forgiveness and let us allow our hearts to be filled with peace so that when the celebration of Easter comes we will truly feel God’s victory over sin and pain and we will truly feel His forgiveness.
In Christ, Fr. Maro.