Fr. Roy Cimagala
That’s true. What-ever situation or predicament we are in, even if we find ourselves in the worst pos-sible scenario, morally speaking, God is always willing to forgive us. It’s just for us to ask for it.
We should not delay in asking for that forgiveness. If God is quick to forgive, let us also be quick to ask for forgiveness. And then focus again on what we are supposed to be doing, as God and everybody else want it.
We should not waste time feeling sad and depressed, or complaining and reacting in some wild, irrational way because of our sins and mistakes. Time, we have to remember, is a very precious resource given to us. Every minute and second should be used to be productive and fruitful.
That God is always willing to forgive us no matter what, is beyond doubt. His mercy is abiding and is forever. There is nothing that can’t be tackled by it. He is not scandalized by anything. His mercy can take on anything. Not even our most grievous mistakes and most stupid blunders can frustrate it.
Let’s remember that God in Christ and now in the Holy Spirit not only preached what is right and wrong, what is good and evil, but also assumed all the sinfulness of man by offering his life on the cross. He came to save, not to condemn. He was slow to anger, quick to forgive. We should be happy and feel reassured with this wonderful truth of our faith.
Let’s remember that Christ was open to everyone, even to the most vile men who repented. He only had hard words on those who refused to acknowledge his divinity in spite of all the evidence shown. In short, on those who refused to live by faith which is a gift given to all of us. Or on those who are self-righteous.
In one episode, he clearly spelled out his attitude of mercy by saying that it is the sick, meaning the sinner, who needs the doctor. That’s why he went with those who were generally considered then as public sinners, a fact that elicited criticism from the leading men of that time.
Let’s follow the observation of St. Paul who once said that where sin has abounded, the grace of God has aboun-ded even more. Para-phrasing that statement, we can say that no matter how mise-rable we may be in our weaknesses and sin-fulness, the mercy of God will always be available and in abundance.
In one juncture, Christ was asked how many times should a person be forgiven, seven times? Seven times in the culture of that time meant many times. Christ replied, not only seven times, but seventy times seven. Meaning, again in the culture of that time, always or as often as needed. There’s no limit to divine mercy.
It might be good to call to mind the example of the repentant thief who managed to be forgiven just before passing away. And most especially, those famous words of Christ, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”
We need to reassure everyone, especially those penitents in the throes of despair, that there is always hope, because God always forgives and that it is not yet the end of the world. Fr. Roy Cimagala is Chaplain, Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE), Talamban, Cebu City, Email: roycimagala @gmail.con