"Should you not have dealt mercifully with your fellow servant, as I dealt with you?" —Matthew 18:33
Two years ago, on the first Sunday of Lent, March 12, 2000, Pope John Paul II did something shocking. He asked for forgiveness of the sins committed by Catholics throughout the centuries. This event was prepared for by a study of the International Theological Commission. In this study, the Commission stated: "In the entire history of the Church there are no precedents for requests for forgiveness by the Magisterium for past wrongs" (1:1). Pope John Paul II continued this unprecedented, radical initiative for reconciliation a week later when He realized His dream of visiting the Holy Land. There He again apologized to the Jewish people and even inserted this apology in the wailing wall in Jerusalem. This act was of unfathomable, symbolic significance.
This great movement of the Spirit in forgiveness and reconciliation continues to sweep across the face of the earth. Many bishops have tried to apply the Pope's call to their dioceses. Are you fulfilling your ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18) in your family, church, neighborhood, and workplace? Are you forgiving seventy times seven times? (Mt 18:22) Are you forgiving from your heart? (Mt 18:35) Are you breaking new ground in forgiveness and reconciliation?
Prayer: Father, let the Holy Spirit of forgiveness work through me.
Promise: "But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received." —Dn 3:39
Praise: Joan forgave her husband for divorcing her.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape on Forgiveness on audio AV 54-1 or on video V-54.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 18, 2001
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2001