Power of Asking Forgiveness


September 17, 2020 – Thursday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/091720.cfm)


Why do we come for confession? Why do we seek forgiveness of our sins?

Many of us today have doubts or have taken for granted the Sacrament of Reconciliation thinking that it does not need for one to confess his or her sins to a priest. Our basic catechism teaches us that the ordained priests are given authority to forgive sins in behalf of the whole church and as God’s representative to his people. It is not the priest that forgives but God. The church listens to the confession of a penitent through the person of the priest. The priest does not give judgement and condemnation but delivers the mercy of God to those who seek for it.

Indeed, there is wisdom and power behind recognizing one’s imperfections and sins. The recognition of sins is not just be limited within personal realization keep within the self. It only becomes a true realization when sins are confessed to somebody, letting another person know about our sins. The priest in this case represents the church for the person who realizes his or her sins.

Once we recognize our sinfulness then it is also God’s opportunity to change our lives and to make us new again. “Recognition and confession of sins” is our humble way of acknowledging that we need mercy and forgiveness, thus, we need God.

The opposite of this is the denial of ones sins and imperfections. Thus, denial of our need of God and denial of our need of mercy and forgiveness. This happens to us when we have grown righteous. When we begin to think that we have committed no sins, then, we think of ourselves highly to the point of making ourselves above others whom we think as lesser than us.

This is the story that we have heard in today’s Gospel. The woman who knelt before Jesus represented those who recognized their need of forgiveness. On the other hand, the Pharisee who invited Jesus represented those who do not need forgiveness because they believe that they do not need God.

Let us see these two personalities to clearly discern God’s invitation for us today.

The woman who was known to be a public sinner was despised by that Pharisee. He would not even dare talking to her because of fear of being contaminated by her sins. That is why, he felt disgusted with Jesus who allowed this woman to wash his feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair. The woman’s actions were her humble way of recognizing that she was in need of God’s mercy. Despite her sins and the shame that she was bearing, she took the risk to go in public to ask Jesus forgiveness.

And because the Pharisee thought of himself so highly, never thought that he too was in need of mercy. This attitude of the Pharisee made him condemning of the woman. He was indifferent towards her and saw no hope in her. This will also happen to us when we become righteous and think that we do not need mercy from God. We become persons who easily condemn others. We become persons who do not see hope with those who have failed in their life. We become angry persons and bitter towards others.

However, Jesus invites us to learn from her. She who recognized her sinfulness, allowed Jesus to transform her life. Her actions towards Jesus was her expression of her affection and at the same time of her need of forgiveness, Jesus who is the face of the Father’s mercy, willingly granted her forgiveness.

When we become persons who recognize our failures and sins, we become persons who also see hope and life. We become persons who become positive with life and at the same time positive with others. We become happy persons.

This is what Jesus wants us because recognition and forgiveness of sins allows us to unburden ourselves from guilt. This will also allow God to work in us.

Thus, do not be afraid of acknowledging ones failures because God always sees hope in us, God does not condemn but grants his mercy and forgiveness to us so that we shall live in peace, freedom and joy. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR


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