Commentary on The Reading of the day provided by:
Saint Caesarius of Arles (470-543), monk and Bishop
Sermon Morin 35 ; PLS IV, 303f.
Forgiving one’s brother from the heart
You know what we are going to say in prayer to God before coming to communion: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.
Interiorly prepare yourself to forgive because you are about to meet up with these words in prayer.
How are you going to say them?
Are you perhaps not going to say them?
In the end that is very much the question: will you say these words, yes or no?
You hate your brother and will you utter the words: “Forgive us as we forgive”?
Are you going to say that you avoid these words?
But in that case, are you praying?
Pay close attention, my brethren.
In a moment you are going to pray; forgive from the heart!
Look at Christ suspended on the cross: listen to him praying: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know not what they are doing” (Lk 23:34).
Doubtless you will say: he was able to do it but I can’t.
I am a man but he is God.
You can’t imitate Christ?
Why then did the apostle Peter write: “Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps” (1Pt 2:21)?
Why does the apostle Paul write: “Be imitators of God as beloved children” (Eph 5:1)?
Why did the Lord himself say: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29)?
We turn aside, we look for excuses when we claim to be impossible what we don’t want to do…
My brethren, don’t blame Christ for having given us commandments that are too difficult, impossible to fulfil.
Rather, let us say to him humbly together with the psalmist: “You are righteous, O Lord, and your judgements are right” (Ps 118:137).