March 6, 2022

Homily on Cheesefare Sunday and Forgiveness (Archpriest Rodion Putyatin)

 By Archpriest Rodion Putyatin

On this day, we Christians are in the habit of asking forgiveness from each other, and therefore this very day is called Forgiveness Sunday. This custom, listeners, is the most Christian, for what is more fitting to begin the upcoming fast, if not with mutual forgiveness? During the fast of the Holy Forty Days, we mainly ask God for forgiveness for all the sins that we have committed during the year. But will God forgive us our sins when we do not forgive the sins of our neighbors? The Lord forgives us only when we ourselves forgive others everything; if you forgive people their sins, then your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive people their sins, then your Father will not forgive you your sins (Matthew 6:14-15). Whoever does not forgive the sins of their neighbor, does not truly repent of their sins. The truly repentant sinner cannot remember the insults they have suffered or are suffering from others; they have one thing on their mind - the sins with which they have offended God; sadness according to God drowns out all other cares in them.

True, it is not easy to forgive insults and forget insults; ah, there are such insults, which, it seems, cannot be forgotten forever! But what to do! It is difficult to forgive, but how at ease, how calm we are after! Like a burden from the soul, when you overcome yourself, cast away a grudge, forget the insult. It is divine peace that settles in the soul when you make peace with someone. We become like God when we forgive each other; Christ is in our midst when we embrace each other.

However, listeners, do not think that it is enough to reconcile and forgive in the soul, as some say. No, by all means go to the one with whom you need to make peace; go, bow down and say: forgive me. For why don't you want to go and bow and ask for forgiveness? Why don't you even want to say: forgive me? From pride, pride forbids it. And it is she that needs to be crushed, exterminated, because all quarrels come from her, she is the cause of all evil. It is enough to make peace with your neighbor in your soul only when this neighbor lives far from you or does not want to make peace with you for anything. In the latter case, only you do not be angry with them and pray to God that the Lord will instruct them to let go of their anger towards you. God does not require the impossible from us.

Some say in justification of their proud and adamant heart: why should I put up and ask for forgiveness? In a day or even sooner again, perhaps we will quarrel again and continue to quarrel. Be reconciled, listeners, always be reconciled, but do not think about how long peace will be between you; put up, although in a day or a minute you may quarrel again. And let the sun not set on your anger, and do not go to bed until you calm yourself and others with peace and forgiveness.

Therefore, try to always have peace, if possible with everyone. Take care, especially on this day, to forgive each other, to forgive in a Christian way, from the heart. Otherwise, your fast will not be a fast, and your prayer will not be a prayer. Amen.