“Everyone says that forgiveness is a lovely idea,” wrote C.S. Lewis, “until they actually have something to forgive.” How true that is! When we’ve been hurt or betrayed, our typical knee-jerk reaction is to seek revenge and retribution.
“Don’t get mad,” the saying goes, “get even!”When we act this way, we may excuse our behavior by explaining that all we want is for justice to be done, and who can argue with that? In a similar vein, we might try to convince ourselves that we’ll never find peace or “closure” until the offending party has received his or her due.
Jesus, however, in today’s words from the Sermon on the Mount, rejects this “eye-for-an-eye” sort of ethic. He knows, and invites us to accept the radical truth that victims of injustice will find peace and closure, not through actions motivated by pain and hate, but through sincere forgiveness, motivated by grace and love.
Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/061311.shtml
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