During an open forum a question was asked, “Why is it so much easier to forgive someone than to forgive yourself?”
I responded immediately, “Is it really easy to forgive someone else?” We would like to think so. But I can tell you from firsthand experience; it is not easy at all. If anything, it is far too easy for someone to hold on to grudges; to be highly resentful of another, even to the point that it blinds them from that day’s truth or facts, the day that the relationship or friendship went sour.There are always two sides to every story.
I find it amazing how the Lord has given the Church this Gospel passage today! I needed this. I’m sure you needed this too. Out of all the days! Why today? Today, the Lord speaks about forgiving those who have sinned against us. What is striking, is that the Lord does not demand from his followers or his disciples any written or oral apologies. Why? I think back to that first Sunday, when the Lord appeared in their midst’s; how fearful the Apostles must have been on the day of Christ’s resurrection. Peter saying to himself, “What will he say to me? After all, I denied him three times.”
And here is the amazing fact. The Lord made no requests for apologies. It’s not good enough to say he didn’t need it, he is God. Yes, he is God and man, he is fully human. And yet, there are no demands placed upon the Apostles except to believe in Him and to serve others. There is no pointing of fingers – except that of Thomas, as he places his finger in Christ’s side. The resurrection still occurred in spite of the wounds. The victory of the meek and humble of heart is assured. Did the Apostles apologize to Jesus for their running away, their cowardice, or for falling asleep and failing to live up to his expectations? Did they apologize for their denials? If they did, the Gospels are silent. Why? Would this not be an important step towards healing and forgiveness? Why are the Gospels silent? Well, maybe they did apologize. But then, why would this not be included? Believe me, I am just as shocked as you are! I don’t understand. Maybe we must look beyond mere words.
In the parable of the Prodigal son, the child that comes home is not even given the opportunity to admit his sorrow. The Father ignores him as he embraces him. It is obviously not important to him. Why? I think it is because the Father can stand on his own two feet. He doesn’t need it. He is confident in what is right and wrong; good and evil; holy and unholy. He doesn’t need the crutch of an apology to witness his son's conversion or goodness of heart. He simply wants what is good for his son, the love of his life. Those who demand an apology will never be able to forgive. It is the same as those who demand a reason to love; they will end up not loving.
The Lord reminds us today that it is good to receive an apology and to forgive. But it is much better to seek no apology and still forgive. The resurrection occurred despite the wounds. How hard it is to accept the chalice of the Lord. May the Lord grant me the grace to accept the shortcomings of others and may they come to accept mine as well. Lord, help us with your Divine Mercy.