We adore You, O Christ, and bless You… because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”Luke 23: 33-34
When I think about the word “crucify” I cringe. I mean, this is one of the most brutal ways to die… nailed to a cross and hanging there in excruciating pain for hours and hours. The fact that anyone, much less the Son of God, would willingly put himself through something like this is beyond my poor powers of comprehension. As is the fact that the first words Jesus speaks in his blinding agony on the cross are words of forgiveness for those that are actually torturing him!
So how do we respond to this Jesus that loves us so intensely and forgives us so unconditionally? I think the answer is simple: we must listen and obey when he tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us [Matthew 5:44], and we must forgive seventy times seven times, i.e., without counting. [Matthew 18:22]
I thought of all of this in connection with a family member who hurt me several times in the past and whom I had turned my back on for many years. So, I picked up the phone and called him and we had a nice chat. While I didn’t voice forgiveness and he didn’t ask for it. I felt forgiveness in my heart, and it felt pretty good. This of course is small potatoes compared to Jesus’ forgiveness on the cross, but it is a start.
Loving Father please help me to continue following Jesus’ example of forgiving others, even those I may see as enemies.
Lord, grant us merciful hearts that we may bring your reconciliation and forgiveness to all. Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory Be to the Father... Lord Jesus Christ, your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites heaven and earth, and reconciles all people to you. May we who have faithfully reflected on the mysteries of Your passion follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen. Lord Jesus Christ... crucified... have mercy on us. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
By Jim Vlazny