“As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us”

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The following reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos throughout this sacred season!

It was the word “as” that struck me deeply this morning while I prayed over the Gospel in advance of Mass. It is a word that you and I have spoken thousands of times when we pray the Our Father, which is the subject of today’s Gospel passage from Saint Matthew. For the Lord taught us to pray with the following words: “… and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

I wonder how many times in my life did I try to explain away the word “as” by justifying my desire not to forgive someone who may have offended, hurt or betrayed me, all the while fully expecting that I would always be forgiven. How ungrateful and unjust such an attitude is when our obligation as the Lord’s disciples is to imitate His desire to forgive all who seek it.

The last words of this morning’s Gospel makes the meaning of the word “as” crystal clear: “If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you, But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”