Forgiveness

Friends in the Lord,
St. Maria Goretti was a very young martyr, we had her traveling relics here not long back. When she was being attacked by that man Alessandro, she did not cry out as a typical child would; she was more worried about the danger to Alessandro’s soul:  ‘Alessandro, what are you doing?, she asked. ‘You’ll lose your soul!’  In fact, days later, as she neared death, she said to the priest: ‘I forgive Alessandro and I want him to be with me in paradise.’
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Friends, we see in the gospel today, that as Jesus teaches us to pray the Our Father, he particularly emphasizes one thing: forgiveness. In the prayer we say: ‘forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ Some translations: ‘forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.’
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Then Our Lord reiterates this point again: “If you forgive men, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father forgive you.”  
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Our present world is not interested in forgiveness; the newspapers are all about ‘gotcha,’ trying to find faults or mistakes with people, and condemn them. This is the role of the devil, who is called ‘The Accuser.’
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Fr. Jacque Felipe says, when we refuse to forgiven someone, we are adding another wrong to the first. It solves nothing. We are increasing the quantity of evil in the world. St. Paul says ‘Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’
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Forgiving someone does not mean we are pretending they have done nothing wrong. Forgiveness means, ‘this person has wronged me, but I don’t want to condemn him.’
Sometimes people say, ‘I just can’t forgive him.’ Well, can you at least pray for him, and say ‘Lord, have mercy on him, don’t let him go to hell.’ Forgiveness means, I don’t want to condemn him, I don’t want him in hell.
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When we forgive someone, we are canceling their debt, but we are also doing much good to ourselves. If we don’t forgive, if we keep stoking resentment, then we are binding ourself to the person we resent. It diminishes our freedom, we become dependent on the person we hate; when we have resentment, we can’t stop thinking about that person. We are enslaved by our passion.
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By keeping the resentment alive in our memory, it is like we are writing a bill, that they will owe us in due time, that person has a debt to us, and we will demand payment!
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Christ is telling us however, that to be free, and to bring healing into the world and in our lives, we need to cancel the debt.
Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

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