We are reminded that humanities sin has deprived us of the blessed life with God and our existence on earth is in exile. It is Christ our Savior who opens the door of paradise to all who follow Him.
In our parish here it is the custom at the end of the Divine Liturgy for all the faithful to come forward and ask and receive forgiveness from all assembled. This way we begin Great Lent with a clean slate if you will.
Below is a link to the sermon I preach on the Sunday of Forgiveness.
Give me tears, Lord, as you did once to the sinful woman; make me worthy to wet your feet, which freed me from the way of error and to offer you as a fragrant ointment, a pure life built in me through repentance; so that I may also hear your cherished words: “Your faith has saved you, go in peace.” Great Compline