LORD, TEACH US TO FORGIVE
Today, in Saint Luke’s gospel we read one of the most well-known readings to Christians around the world: Jesus teaching His disciples how to pray to the Father. This version of the “Our Father” in comparison to the one written by Saint Matthew is much shorter and a bit different. The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer of the Church. It relates to us as the daughters and sons of God created in His image and likeness, and likewise it instructs us as to how we are to lead our lives. Jesus taught His disciples by example, and they knew that Jesus was a very prayerful man, as this was not the first time they observed Him in prayer. Witnessing Jesus in prayer, His disciples asked Him to show them how to pray.
As we know, the “Our Father” is more than just a supplication to God. It is a life lesson, a universal instruction on forgiveness. Once we have sinned, forgiveness is the remedy that puts us back on the road to God’s grace. Sin is very hurtful and breaks our relationship with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is always two-fold, and as Christians, in order to be forgiven, we must forgive others. As Saint John writes (20:23), “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven”. The outcome of forgiveness is peace; living a life in harmony with God, self and others. Forgiveness has a way of changing one’s entire manner of being. It lifts you up to a true sense of restoration, a renew-ness in God’s love. In the end, it puts a smile on your face, knowing that love has triumphed over vengeance and antipathy.
Consequently, we look to Jesus the Teacher instructing us on the original meaning of forgiveness when at His crucifixion as He hangs dying on the cross, He says, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). There is no greater example of love for us than this.
Joseph C Gidaro