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All Issues > Volume 26, Issue 2

<< Sunday, March 14, 2010 >> Fourth Sunday of Lent
Joshua 5:9, 10-12
2 Corinthians 5:17-21

View Readings
Psalm 34:2-7
Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Similar Reflections


"While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was deeply moved." —Luke 15:20

Some people think forgiveness means being nice to those who have offended us. Forgiveness, however, is much more than that. It means actively showing love and mercy to those who have mistreated us. Forgiveness is given before our offenders apologize, and even if they never apologize or stop mistreating us. Forgiveness is expressed affectionately. The father of the prodigal son "ran out to meet him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him" (Lk 15:20). Forgiveness means honoring our offenders by giving them special gifts and throwing a party in their honor (Lk 15:22-23). Forgiveness is extending mercy, treating those who have mistreated us much better than they deserve.

Forgiveness by God's standards is impossible by human power. "To err is human, to forgive is divine." Because we're not divine, we can't do it. However, Jesus is divine. He can forgive, and we can let it be done unto us according to His word (Lk 1:38). In Jesus, we can forgive everyone who has ever hurt us; we can be like the father of the prodigal son. We can forgive by God's standards (Col 3:13). We can receive the miracle of forgiveness, go forth as ministers of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18), and transform an unforgiving and merciless world into the image and likeness of Christ.

Prayer: Forgiving Father, in this Lent may I change from merely not hating my enemies into loving them.
Promise: "This means that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old order has passed away; now all is new!" —2 Cor 5:17
Praise: Praise You, Jesus, Mercy Incarnate. Praise You for forgiving us even when we were Your enemies (Rm 5:10). I worship You forever.
(When we Seek First the Kingdom of God (retreat Apr. 16-17), we find there is no room for unforgiveness. Call 937-587-5464.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2010 through March 31, 2010.
†Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 26, 2009.
The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Volume 26, Issue 2
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