Repentance and Forgiveness
a reflection by Jean-René Watchou
A reading from Psalm 32:1-5
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the one against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit, there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
This past year has been a difficult year for many people because of the extreme challenges brought to us by the Covid 19 pandemic; the racial injustice in our society, illustrated by the plain sight murder of George Floyd; and the political divisions and rhetoric that have created a tense atmosphere and led to discriminations and victimizations of immigrants and minorities in our country.
We have been living through one of the darkest times in human history, filled with loss, weeping and mourning: Loss of loved one, loss of jobs, loss of community, loss of our daily routines; kids unable to attend school in person and suffering mentally as a result.
Even in the midst of that darkness, God is still present. He calls us to bring our whole selves to him, because he wants to offer us healing and forgiveness, and prepare our hearts for the hope of new life, after this season of Lent.
As we enter the Lent journey, repentance is the first step, given that lent is a time of renewal and an opportunity to refocus relationships with God and receive forgiveness. And we are reminded of that by the Psalm 32 reading above.
As God forgives us, he calls us not only to clean house, but also to follow the example of Jesus by showing love and forgiveness to all; including those who have offended us.
Forgiveness calls upon us to swallow our pride, and extend to others the same kind of grace that God has granted us. If we accept and extend that grace, our lives become more rewarding, and our society and world a better place to live in.
So let us journey on in the blessed life of repentance that brings us the assurance of forgiveness and the promise of who we become through it!