Why do we human beings have such a problem forgiving those who have hurt us? The answer is quite simple. We thought that the other person loved us as much as we loved them. However, when they have betrayed our trust, the hurt is so bad that we never want to experience it again. Consequently, we protect our vulnerability by hanging on to our hurt. While we are hurting we cannot forgive.
This is what makes God’s ability to forgive so incredible. In the language that we prayed yesterday in the Stations of the Cross, we kept on saying that we were sorry that we had offended God and asked God to keep us from offending again. I have used that particular devotion many times in my life time. However, yesterday the words reminded me that my sins offend God, they hurt our relationship with God. God is able to forgive which makes God vulnerable because we all tend to commit the same sin over and over again.
In the reading we hear from Deuteronomy today, Moses keeps on asking the people to commit themselves to the Sinai covenant today! The word today reminds us that in the past they have not been faithful. However, God is able to say, “Let’s begin again.”
In the Gospel, Jesus urges us to love our enemies. Enemies are made when hurts are exposed. So Jesus’ admonition flies in the face of our vulnerability. Once again, God is asking us to do more. We are being pushed to act the way God acts. Because God has forgiven us, we know that we must forgive in return or we mock God’s mercy toward ourselves.
I am not suggesting that it is easy. It is so difficult. However, let us not forget what Jesus did for us to gain God’s forgiveness of our sins. That was far more difficult than anything we have ever been asked to do.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator