Happy Father’s Day everyone! I hope you were able to enjoy the day with your families.
The Mass readings for Father’s Day were perfect. In the first reading, David gets a message from God through the prophet Nathan for taking Bathsheba as his own and then killing her husband Uriah the Hittite. What does he get? Forgiven. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus is having dinner with a Pharisee when a sinful woman comes in, interrupts the party, anoints Jesus, kisses his feet, cries and dry’s his feet with her hair. What does she get? Forgiven.
Who knows more about how to forgive than a father? After all, our Father in heaven is the greatest forgiver of all. But how many of us have someone in our lives who we haven’t forgiven or won’t forgive? We attend church, do all the right things, but don’t forgive someone who hurt us. Yet we stand before a forgiving God unwilling to forgive. And us Catholics, who believe that the Real Presence of Jesus Christ is manifested in our bread and wine every Sunday, stand before him, receive him in our bodies and refuse to forgive someone. And then we expect forgiveness for ourselves. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Those were Jesus’ words, a directive from him that we repeat often but don’t realize what we’re saying.
In essence, Jesus is telling us to first forgive who we need to forgive, then come ask for forgiveness. This is a hard teaching I know. It’s one that I struggle with often. But I must not stand before the Lord and expect a gift from him that I’m not willing to give to others. In fact it’s already been freely given to me. I just need to pass it on.