Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the “Our Father”, we now consider how Jesus teaches us to ask God to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Mt 6:12). Just as we need bread, so we have need of forgiveness. Every day! In the original Greek of Matthew’s Gospel, the word used for ‘trespasses’ carries the meaning of being in debt, and so Christians pray asking that God will forgive their debts. We are truly in debt to God because everything we have has come as a gift from him: our life, parents, friends, creation itself. Likewise, we are only capable of loving because we have been loved first; we are able to forgive only because we ourselves have received forgiveness. How can we not recognise, in the bonds of love that precede us, the providential presence of God’s love? None of us can love God as he has loved us. We need only gaze at a crucifix to realize this. Let us pray, then, that even the holiest in our midst will never cease to be in debt to the Lord. O Father, have mercy on us all!
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Australia, Sri Lanka and the United States of America. May the Lenten journey bring us to Easter with hearts purified and renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Upon you and your families I invoke joy and peace in Christ our Redeemer!