Tuesday, March 29, 2011

From the heart

Once again in the gospel today Jesus raises the bar on us.

When we the of Lent, we think of penance and forgiveness. Usually, that means we do our penance we receive forgiveness. This can in some way be a sled-centered exercise.

Today's gospel once more calls us out of ourselves and reminds us of how, as creatures created in the image and likeness of God and part of the body of Christ, we are called not only to be recipients of God's forgiveness but transmitters.

Taking it one step further this gospel reminds us that this forgive me transmit cannot be pro forma, mechanical, or superficial. We must forgive "from the heart." We must forgive as God's forgives.

Forgiveness not from the heart is like the apology we were forced to make as children. We would say "I'm sorry", but in a tone that communicated anything but contrition. We say we have forgiven someone even as we are recounting for the 25th time, what they did to us. If we're telling people about it, have we really forgiven.

To Jesus reminds us that it is not enough for us to acknowledge our sins and ask for forgiveness we have to give it, and give it from the heart.