No matter how far you feel you’ve fallen, or how long it’s been since you last talked to that person, it is never too late to ask God for forgiveness, to forgive yourself, or to start forgiving the ones who’ve hurt you. In short, mercy and forgiveness have no expiration date.
The parable of the laborers in the vineyard reminds me of all the conversion stories I heard over the years. Everyone who worked at the vineyard received the same wages, even the workers who were hired at the eleventh hour. The people who worked the longest didn’t see it as fair, but it actually was. In the same way, God’s mercy and forgiveness are given equally to everyone, even to those who sincerely ask for it at the last minute.
My friend, Francine*, has a complicated story worthy of a soap opera, but it ends very happily for all those involved. Her father Tony* left her mother and married her mother’s best friend Natasha*. Though her father and his new wife stuck around for most of Francine’s childhood, she carried a lot of anger and resentment towards both of them. It got to the point that when Francine was pregnant with her third child, she and her father stopped talking to each other. 14 years later, however, Tony and Francine reconciled again. The twist to this story, though, is that by that point, Francine had already forgiven him.
If you need any more proof that it’s never too late to receive mercy and forgiveness, read the passage from Luke’s Passion narrative. The thieves crucified next to Jesus were rebuking him for a while. One of the thieves wanted to be taken down. The other thief, known traditionally as Saint Dismas, rebuked the other thief, understanding the reality of their situation. St. Dismas knew that he and the other thief deserved to die for their crimes, but also realized that Jesus was innocent. He pleaded for Jesus to remember him. In return, Jesus said “Today, you shall be with me in paradise.”
Today’s song is “You Never Are” by Francesca Battistelli. It’s a song dedicated to those who feel like they are beyond redemption and forgiveness.
St. Dismas, pray for us.
*Names are changed to protect privacy.
1.What was something that you found hard to forgive or haven’t forgiven yet? Why has it been so hard to let go?
2.What do you think was the most profound thing you’ve learned from this study?
Action: If you haven’t allowed any mercy or forgiveness into your life, whether for yourself or for others, let today be the start of a new chapter and let God write His mercy, compassion, and forgiveness into your life for yourself and for everyone else in your life