FEBRUARY 19, 2023

This is quite a tough gospel. We sometimes like to get our own back.
We know the desire for vengeance in family and other groups, and in national groupings.
The ‘eye for an eye’ brings no peace, just a quiet lull in violence.

We know the opposite. People see the enemy walking the street and know that the only way forward is to make peace. This may not mean forgiveness immediately. Some can find a way for­ward only gradually.

The forgiveness of the gospel is a slow journey. We have small hurts and have ways of dealing, with them. But the big ones are there too – maybe someone getting a job over someone dishonestly, being abused, family being mocked, bullying. Healing, freedom and forgiveness takes time.

We need to understand our own vengeance and at times for­give ourselves for it. The love of God is the love that helps us love the self in the normal hurts and grievances of life. The love of God is a grace, filling that space in us that is open to love – the grace of loving self and others.

To be perfect is to become like God in compassion and in love. This is a wonderful vision for ourselves, our church and our world. It is the dream of God that all God’s children live in love, peace and justice.

Prayer helps … can you bring someone to God – to the cross?
Pray with someone at the cross; it makes a difference.
Lord, help me to forgive and, when I cannot,
to be patient with myself as you are with me.

Donal Neary SJ