Perhaps this is a good time for us to reflect on how we do domestic Church, and how the great liturgical moments in the year or the great theological themes that underpin them permeate our ordinary lives.
After all, we all want and need forgiveness in our lives, don’t we? Or do we? It is one of the great ironies of the Christian faith that its founder apparently teaches us to pray for something that few of us in our right minds would actually want. In the Our Father, Christians pray on a regular basis to be forgiven ‘as we forgive those who trespass against us’.
There can surely be little worse than for God to forgive me in the way that I usually forgive others. Such forgiveness would be decidedly partial, offered grudgingly and hedged with conditions. ‘I forgive you’ – if you grovel suitably and for a proper length of time. ‘I forgive you’ – as long as you never come within a whisker of ever doing something like that again. ‘I forgive you’, but part of me will never quite forget, and will bring up the list of your past misdeeds at the least hint of any future conflict between us. Most of us would be inclined instead to pray that God will forgive our sins more thoroughly and permanently than this.