Holy Scripture records nearly 50 times where Our Lord uses the word "forgive."  Most of us recall the passage where the Apostle Peter asks Christ how often must we forgive others.  Here is the brief, but important dialogue. "Then Peter came up and said to him, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven (Matt. 18: 21-22).  The Church invites us to enter into the Season of Great Lent with forgivness, an overabundance of forgiveness.  Without this virtue, we set up ourselves for failure. 
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We live in a world where many refuse to forgive. Neighbor seeks revenge against neighbor, family members take one another to court, and countries threaten war and invasion.  I often wonder what our world might be if we designated one day a year as a national holiday of forgiveness.  Instead of tweeting insults on Twitter, the President would lead us in an simple act of asking forgiveness before the American People.  Rather than heading off to the TV or Radio Talk-Shows, Democrats and Republicans would embrace one another in the aisles of Congress and ask forgiveness.  This national display would repeat itself at the state and local levels.  Tears of sorrow would be the source of our renewal and serve as a reminder that we are not perfect, but we are striving toward perfection. 

The season of Great Lent is our journey of perfection in Christ.  When we fast, we travel the road to perfection in Christ.  As we pray, we walk along the path to perfection in Christ.  Each time we perform a charitable work, we draw closer to perfection in Christ.  But, without forgiveness, we wonder off the road to perfection in Christ and find ourselves traveling the road of bitterness and enmity-a path toward destruction. 

Forgiveness is the cornerstone of our faith.  Christ's final words on the cross serve as a prayer for all of us during Great Lent, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23: 24).  I ask all of you forgiveness if I have sinned against you.