Today’s Gospel reading is the text of the Lord’s Prayer. It ends with a final teaching: ‘For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses’. In this way, the need to forgive others is given a unique place of importance by our Lord, and it is picked up by St Benedict in the Holy Rule: ‘The Offices of Lauds and Vespers should never be allowed to pass without the superior at the end of all reciting the Lord’s Prayer in the hearing of all the brethren, on account of the thorns of scandal which are wont to arise; so that warned by the covenant which they make in that prayer, saying: ‘Forgive us as we forgive,’ they may cleanse themselves of such faults’.
In Community, as in human society everywhere, there is always the need to forgive and be forgiven, and St Benedict says it is a covenant, a mutual agreement. May we take this to heart, forgiving our neighbour as we have been forgiven. May God bless you.