- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

March 21, 2017

Fr. Gerard D’Souza, OCSO [1]

3rd Tuesday in Lent

Why is forgiveness so important that the Lord Himself warns us that unless we forgive each other from the heart, we will not be forgiven by His Father?

The Greek word – synchoreo – is very interesting. If I were to venture a literal translation, I would say it means – together in a space. But it also has the connotation of forgiveness. If we put the two together, forgiveness then contains the idea of making space for someone else. It means accommodating someone else. To forgive means to accommodate your enemy in the heart. Usually an unforgiving attitude shuts people out and refuses to admit them ever.

It is with this accommodation in mind, that we can then understand why forgiveness is so important for the Lord. The Incarnation is the supreme example of synchoreo. In Jesus, God has accommodated all of us into Himself. He has made space for us. Jesus emptied Himself so that He could accommodate us. This is the fundamental act of forgiveness. We were cast out or cast ourselves out. God made space for us to bring us back.

If God Himself, who has every right to condemn us has made space for us, how can we expect to claim this space and yet refuse to make space for those who offend us?