Today is Forgiveness Sunday.
Reading from the Synaxarion or guidebook to this holy day.
The Holy Fathers commemorate Adam’s exile from Paradise, today, on the eve of the holy Forty-day Fast or Lent in the Western tradition, and so demonstrate how beneficial fasting is for man, and how harmful and destructive are insatiety and the transgression of the divine commandments.
The first of all commandments that God gave to man was that of fasting i.e. keeping away from the tree. The first-fashioned (Adam and Eve) received this but did not keep that commandment. Not only did they not become gods, as they had imagined, but they even lost that blessed life which they had had, instead falling into corruption, disease & death, and then transmitting these and innumerable other evils to all of mankind.
So today, on Forgiveness Sunday, we are brought to mind what we have fallen from, and what we have suffered because of the insatiety and disobedience of Adam and Eve and also so that we may be diligent to return to that ancient bliss and glory by means of fasting and obedience to all the divine commands.
So it is appropriate today that we read and mark upon the Gospel (Matt. 6:14-21) so that we can begin our Great Fast unencumbered by enmity.
And so today , we also ask forgiveness first from God, then from one another and then finally from all creation.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full already.
17 Instead when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but it will be to your Father, who sees what is done in secret, and will reward you now and thereafter.
19“Also, do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin may destroy it, or thieves break in and steal it from you. 20 Instead store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin are not, nor thieves lie in wait. 1For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.