God Will Forgive You
06/14/22 Gospel Reflection
“Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love;
in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.
Thoroughly wash away my guilt;
and from my sin cleanse me.
For I know my transgressions;
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your eyes.”
Pope Francis in his 2016 book The Name of God is Mercy gives an interesting anecdotal witness of the faith of a woman seeking the forgiveness of Our Lord Jesus Christ by means of the sacrament of Confession. The Pope recalls the encounter:
“Abuela, do you want to confess?”
“Yes,” she replied.
And since I was ready to leave, I said: “But if you have no sins…”
Her answer was swift and immediate: “We all have sins.”
“But maybe the Lord can’t forgive them,” I said.
“The Lord forgives everything.”
“How do you know?”
“If the Lord didn’t forgive everything, our world would not exist.”
This story told by Pope Francis has always lingered somewhere in the back of my mind. I feel as though it somehow has struck a chord with my soul deep enough that I will never let it go. Today’s responsorial Psalm has been traditionally attributed to King David for his transgressions against God by committing adultery with Bathsheba and sending her husband to die at the frontlines of battle.
Could these iniquities be forgiven?
Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ tells in today’s gospel reading,
“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
It's quite a startling command from our Lord when one pairs it with the revealed fate of Jezebel in the first reading and the tradition surrounding Psalm 51. There is an important feature here with how these readings are paired with each other in today’s mass readings.
There is a brutality in the fate of Jezebel in the first reading, but even though our sins are always before us, the good news is that God does not abandon us to the fate in which we deserve. You might be estranged somehow from the Church—from our Lord Jesus Christ. And Your sins, like the Psalmist exclaims, are always before you.
Let them go. How?
The good news of Jesus Christ is that through baptism we become the branches of The Vine that produces a new vintage—it is an abundance of blessings, a new wine for new wine skins.
Jesus is telling us to live a life of holiness. It might seem too daunting but be not afraid! Our Blessed Lord has given us the seven sacraments to help us be sanctified by God’s grace. We have been given the sacrament of confession in which we can let go of the darkness of our past which has made us slaves. Confession is a great gift to our soul like pruning is to The Vine. The branches of The Vine need pruning so they we, when we confess our sins, flourish all the more following the command of our Lord, “So be perfect.”
There is nothing that you have done that God will not forgive if only you stretch out your hand to grasps the Lord’s! The Lord will forgive everything; you only have to ask for His forgiveness.
 New American Bible, Revised Edition. (Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Ps 51:3–6.
 Pope Francis, The Name of God Is Mercy (New York: Random House Publishing Group, 2016), 24-25, Kindle Edition.
 New American Bible, Revised Edition. (Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Mt 5:48.