- THE FORGIVENESS OF DEBTS

Created: Friday, 30 August 2013 Last Updated: Monday, 31 March 2014

THE FORGIVENESS OF DEBTS


1. Being love a great commandment (to love God with all the heart and to the neighbour like to oneself), Jesus´ prayer also looks (without ingenuity, with realism) after the ruptures of the communion and, so, about the need of forgiveness. And as God´s love is inseparable from neighbour’s love, reconciliation with God appears linked to the reconciliation with the brother: “If, then, when presenting your offering before the altar you remember that one of your brothers has something against you, leave there your offering, before the altar, and go first to reconcile with your brother; then come back and present your offering” (Mt 5, 23 – 24). So that, Jesus invites us to address the Father, saying: “Forgive our offences, as we also forgive those who offend us”

2. The Gospel assumes God´s word already proclaimed. It is said in the psalms: “Refrain from anger, turn away from wrath; fret not, for it only leads to evil. Make the Lord your delight, and he will grant your heart’s desire.” (Ps 37, 8. 5). And in the book of Sirach: “Forgive the mistakes of your neighbour and you may ask that your sins be forgiven.” (Sir 28, 2). In book of the Wisdom it is said that the just must be human and “when we judge others to remember your kindness, and when we are judged to count on your mercy.” (Wis 12, 19. 22)

3. The model is in God himself who is love and that he forgives the offence: “As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his love for those fearing him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove from us our sins” (Ps 103, 11 – 12). So that we can say: “I eternally will sing the mercies of the Lord” (Ps 89, 2). As apostle Saint John says: “If we acknowledge our sins, faithful and just is he to forgive us the sins and purify us of any injustice” (1 Jn 1, 9). What is not valid is to say: The Lord does not see it, God does not realize it: “ He who made the ear, will he not hear? He who formed the eye, will he not see? He who rebukes nations, will he not punish them?” (Ps 94, 11 – 12)

4. Confession of own guilt and forgiveness request addressed to God often appear in the psalms; above all, in the so called penitential psalms: “Free us, scratch our sins” (Ps 79, 9); “we have sin like our fathers” (Ps 106, 6); “mercy, my God, by your great compassion” (Ps 51, 3); “forgive my fault, because it is large” (25, 11); “O Lord, in your anger do not reprove me” (6, 2; 38, 2); “if you should mark our evil, O Lord, who could stand?” (130, 3); “of the hidden faults clean me” (19, 13). The acknowledgement of sin he obtains forgiveness: “I made known my sin… you removed my guilt” (32, 5). The Lord is gracious and merciful: “He does not treat us according to our sins, nor does he punish us as we deserve”.(103, 10; see 65, 4)

5. The prophets assume the penitential psalms. The people goes through a bad way and a national confession is necessary (Ps 106). Prophets also compose penitential songs: “We look for light but behold darkness; we long for brightness but walk in gloom. Like the blind we grope for the wall, like those without eyes we feel our way. We stumble at noon as at twilight; we are dead in the midst of our sins.”. (Is 59, 9 – 10); “all of us like the sheet we felt down, and our faults as the wind carried us” (64, 5); “We hoped for salvation but received nothing good; we waited for healing, but terror came!” (Jr 14, 19). God is not guilty of the bad that suddenly comes: “Just is the Lord, because I have been disobedient to his orders” (Lm 1, 18); “Lord’s hand neither is too short to save, nor his ear hard to hear, but your faults separated you from your God” (Is 59, 1); “to the Lord our God, piety and forgiveness, because we have rebelled against him, and we have not heard the voice of the Lord our God to follow his mandates” (Dn 7, 9 – 10).

6. In the Gospel, the parables of the mercy manifest God´s worry about the lost sheep, drachma or son (Lk 15). God is the father who rejoice in the forgiveness. God´s forgiveness announcement is an essential part of the good news of the Gospel. (Mk 2, 5). Jesus invites his disciples to be merciful, as the Father is: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you are children of your celestial Father” (Mt 5, 44 – 45).

7. Jesus teaches his disciples that it is necessary to forgive the men to be forgiven by God: “If you forgive others their wrongs, your Father in heaven will also forgive yours.  15 If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive you either.” (6, 14 – 15). Understood this, Peter’s problem is how many times must he forgive his brother: Up to seven times? If old Lamec had revenged seven times (Gn 4, 24), shall it be enough to forgive another seven? Jesus says: No, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Mt 18, 22). In the parable of the servant without bowels Jesus strongly stresses the need of forgiveness (18, 23 – 35). Like the human coexistence the community of disciples constantly requires reconciliation and forgiveness to survive. In another way, it melts and disappears. There are multiple situations in human life that claim for the exercise of forgiveness: way of doing things that disturb to others, misunderstandings, coexistence problems, lack of respect

8. In the case of a grave and public fault fraternal correction is applicable (Mt 18, 13 – 17). If the correction is rejected in the different levels (alone, in small group, in community), the brother in question “be for you like the gentile or the publican”. The need to forgive always, does not avoid to make evident the division produced due to the cause of the Gospel. As Jesus says: “Do you believe that I am here to bring peace to the earth? No, I ensure you, but division” (Lk 12, 51). Peace is a fruit of conversion. There are also situations in which darnel has been seeded and time is required to carry out the adequate discernment: it is necessary to wait until the harvest to avoid pulling up also the wheat, when trying to pull out the darnel

9 Jesus rejects the prayer of those who have themselves like just men and they despise the others, the prayer of the Pharisee: “I thank you because I am neither like the rest of men, predatory, unjust, adulterer, nor like that publican”. In the other side, Jesus embraces the prayer of the publican: “Be merciful to me, that I am a sinner!” (Lk 18, 9 – 14). The same happens with the prodigal son, when he says: “Father, I have sinned against heavens and against you” (Lk 15, 21)

10. Jesus´ prayer is present in the meeting of the community from the beginning. In such prayer, pardon need is permanent: “Reconciliation service has been delivered to us” (2 Co 5, 18). It is also permanent the need of communion and love, the unity is for which Jesus prays: “Holy Father, take care in your name of those you have given me, so that they are like one of us” (Jn 17, 11). It is good to say what we think, also to think what we say. It is good to talk heart in hand, also to watch the impulses of the own heart, from where the bad intentions that contaminate the man come out (Mk 7, 21 – 23). Jesus says that nations will be judged by the attitude assumed before the brother: “I truly tell you that all you made with one of these smaller brothers, you made it to me” (Mt 25, 40)

* Dialogue: Do the relationship problems appear in your prayer? Do we forgive those who have offended us?