The Holy Father reflected on today's Gospel from St. Matthew in which Jesus is asked how often one should forgive.
“I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times," Jesus replied. The Pope said that asking forgiveness is not merely saying 'excuse me' but something much more profound. To make a mistake and to sin are very different: "one has nothing to do with the other."
"Sin is not a simple mistake. Sin is idolatry: it is to worship the idol, the idol of pride, vanity, money, ‘my self’, my own ‘well-being’," he said.
The Pope also made reference to the first reading from the prophet Daniel, in which Azariah appeals for forgiveness to God on behalf of the people.
"So many idols do we have: and for this, Azariah does not apologize: he asks forgiveness," he said.
Reflecting on Jesus' teachings on forgiveness, the Pope said one cannot seek pardon if they at first have not pardoned.
“Jesus teaches us to pray to the Father in this way: ‘Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors', he said.
"If I am not able to forgive, then I am not able to ask for forgiveness. ‘But, Father, I confess, I go to confession ....’ And what do you do before you confess?’ ‘Well, I think of the things I did wrong.’ ‘Alright’ ‘Then I ask the Lord for forgiveness and promise not to do those things again.’ ‘Okay…and then go to the priest? Before you do, however, you’re missing something: have you forgiven those who have hurt you?’”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis stressed to the faithful present that true forgiveness is not just a mere apology but to be away of our sins and idolatries.
"God always forgives, always – but He asks me to forgive [others]. If I do not forgive, in a sense, I close the door to God’s forgiveness. ‘Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors'", he said.