Pope Francis: God Forgives if One Forgives Others
By Mei Manuel, March 08, 2018 06:03 AM
During a mass held at the Vatican's Casa Santa Marta Chapel on Tuesday, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of forgiveness and warned how one's hatred can enslave a person.
In the beginning of his homily, the Pope reflects on the First Reading from the book of Daniel which depicts the story of Azariah. Azariah was thrown into a burning furnace by the people for refusing to deny the Lord. However, instead of condemning God for his situation, he did not complain to God for the treatment he got and he also does not blame Him for it. Azariah continued to teach others God's greatness and pointed out that God has always saved the people from evil. However, man continued to sin and does not recognize God's presence. This accusation of ourselves, the Pope points out, is the first step towards forgiveness.
The Pope also said that accusing oneself and not others is a part of Christian wisdom, an attitude that each person should have when seeking the sacrament of penance: The great God has given me so much and unfortunately I have sinned. I have offended the Lord and I ask for salvation.
Pope Francis also gave another example in his homily, recalling the story of a woman who confessed to a priest and tried her best to justify herself while sharing the list of sins her mother-in-law committed. The confessor cut her short and told her to confess her own sins instead of those done by others. From this story, Pope Francis then returned back to Azariah's story and said God loves a contrite heart and those who trust God will never be disappointed. A contrite heart would also be able to tell the truth to the Lord when it is asked. We do not need to speak out loud about our sins to God, for as long as our heart is true. God would not allow us to speak, but He would cover us with love and forgive us.
The Pope then called to all Christians not to be ashamed in admitting to their sins and assures everyone that God justifies us by forgiving us always. However, such forgiveness would be attained if one learns to forgive others. It may be difficult to forgive because rancor remains in our hearts, thus disabling us from truly letting go of our hatred. The Pope then said Christians must focus on two things to get rid of this hatred: We need to praise the Lord and acknowledge our sins and the second is forgiving others.
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