Ez 12:1-12 / Mt 18:21-19:1
Have you ever reflected upon the fact that every time Mass is celebrated, no matter where in the world, it always begins with a rite of reconciliation? Even in the convents of cloistered nuns and the monasteries of silent, scholarly monks, the Mass begins every day with that same rite of reconciliation.
What an eloquent recognition of a most basic reality! Whoever we are and whatever our degree of holiness, we are dependent every day upon God’s willingness to forgive us. And we receive God’s forgiveness, not because we have earned it, but because God is gracious and freely gives us what we have not earned.
That profound graciousness in the face of our desperate need and our unworthiness is something we must never forget. When we in turn find ourselves faced with people who have done us wrong, harmed our interests, and hurt those we love, and when their plea for forgiveness comes to us, our own daily, even hourly, need for forgiveness must stand clear in our memory.
The gracious forgiveness of others is the debt we owe to God for freely forgiving us. Forgiveness of others is not a favor to be granted or withheld at will. It’s a debt we owe, a debt we can never fully repay.