02 Mar Forgiveness Sunday
Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’
What a powerful example of Christian forgiveness our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ offers to us while hanging on the life giving cross. Forgiveness is a difficult thing for us. This is likely due in large part to our human nature, which easily allows us to justify our anger. It is true that we often are wronged, but our Lord calls us to forgive nonetheless. That is why today, the Sunday of Forgiveness, is so crucial for us as a starting point to our Lenten journey. Do we not all wrong God, through our many sins? Do we not knowingly do so, more often than not? And yet, we will all take the opportunity, through the sacrament of Confession, to boldly ask to be forgiven for these wrongs. How blessed we are to have such a merciful and forgiving God. What if God forgave on the same standard that we, as human beings forgive? This is our struggle. To love our enemies, to love and forgive, even we have been wronged. This is the type of Christ-like love and forgiveness we are called to imitate. Do we ever see, or experience this type of forgiveness?
I was watching the news this past week, and was struck by a story that perhaps many of you have seen. It was about the end of a trial concerning a man who, while drunk, hit and killed with his car another man, some two and a half years ago. I don’t know a lot about the details of the case or the trial, except that the trial ended with the drunk driver admitting guilt and accepting responsibility for what he had done. The family of the man who had been killed, including his brother, wife and children, called the guilty party over to them in the court room, embraced him, and forgave him, saying this is what their husband, brother and father would have wanted. What a powerful witness to Christ-like forgiveness. Today, we exchanged the kiss of peace, asked and offered forgiveness to one another. For those who were unable to attend today, I beg your forgiveness if I have offended or hurt you in any way. As I said today, don’t let this beautiful practice of forgiveness end this evening, or within the doors of the Church. Ask forgiveness and offer forgiveness wherever it is needed in your life, and amongst those you encounter. Let this be a spring board into a spiritually fruitful and beneficial Lenten journey for all of us. May God bless you and keep you all in His loving kindness. God forgives, let us forgive!