Written on: March 17, 2021
1st Reading Jeremiah 31:31-34
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 14-15
2nd Reading Hebrews 5:7-9
Gospel John 12:20-33
Submitted by Sr. Eleanore Martinez, GNSH and Paula Zinzola, GNSHA
How amazing it is that God keeps forgiving us over and over. In Jeremiah we are reminded that “God forgives evildoing and does not remember sins.” In the psalm God promises “to wipe out our sins” and “to wash us from guilt.” In addition, Jesus’ forgiveness from the cross (because we do not know what we are doing) is good food for thought. Trying to fathom this all-encompassing forgiveness is overwhelming. How immense is the gratitude that wells up within us to know there is nothing that can take this kind of love away. Maybe this is the reason the Greeks in the Gospel story wanted to see Jesus and why Phillip and Andrew are serving Jesus.
“It is easy to surrender when you know that nothing but Love and Mercy are on the other side.” Richard Rohr
We often fail to forgive because we cling to resentments. At a DeMello retreat years ago, Tony said, “If you have a resentment, ask yourself: what mileage are you getting out of the resentment?” Well, I had a big resentment hanging around my neck that forced me to reflect on this question. Turns out that I was enjoying the role of victim. I was addicted to whining. Dropping the resentment was an event that brought much freedom and welcome peace.
“We forgive once we give up our attachment to our wounds.” Lewis Hyde
At that same retreat, Tony also said God keeps no records, no little black book and no scales! God just loves us as we were, as we are and as we will be.
Paula shares the following Story:
While reflecting on my past, I realized how desperately I needed to let go of a resentment and begin my journey for forgiveness. There was a time when a very close friend of mine requested that I do not attend the funeral of her family member. It seems she was possibly ashamed of having me there. I was very disappointed, hurt and angry. This was a good friend shutting me out. Only when I was willing to focus on and understand her pain did I find the grace to let go. Not forgiving her was a heavy burden to carry. I prayed for the ability to forgive and everything changed.
Forgiveness is so liberating and I found it’s never too late to seek it.
Forgiveness is a divine trait. It defines the goodness of God. Without it human beings could not survive. Because God forgives, there is still hope for sinners. When we do wrong, God assures us that he will not abandon us as a result of our transgressions. Divine forgiveness is the quality that most clearly proves God’s love for us.” Rabbi Benjamin Blech
5th Sunday of Lent (click to print)