John 20:19-23

One of the most difficult things to live with is when you know you have wronged or hurt someone. The worst scenario is when the person you have hurt passes away. I was once at a funeral wake and before the start of the Mass, a sibling of the deceased came in and was so inconsolable. The scene was only made understandable when another sibling explained to me what had previously happened. The sibling had a big fight with the deceased two weeks before the death. Since then, there was no communication or asking for forgiveness. Hence, the regret when the sibling passed away.

In the Gospel of the Resurrection, the disciples, with the exception of John, knew that they had hurt Jesus. Where were they in the most difficult time of the life of Jesus? Surely, they were there when times were good and when Jesus was being praised. Surely, they were so happy to be identified with Jesus because he was so popular. However, when life made a turn for the worst, where were they? 

Despite that, what were the very first words of Jesus when He made his appearance to the apostles? It was not sarcasm, it was not asking where they were, and it was not anger. It was the words, “Peace be with you!”

Certainly, in our lives, there have been people who were there for us in good times but were not to be found when times were tough. Like Jesus, why do we forgive them still?

  1. First, forgiveness is about the person that forgives and not about the person who has hurt. When we forgive, we release the pain, anger, hurt, resentment, and any other negative emotion. Hence, the beneficiary is the person who forgives.
  2. One cannot go wrong with Kindness. Jesus had all the right to get mad and remind the apostles how ungrateful they were. He could have given them a litany of “I was there for you on your difficult moments and where were you when it was my turn?” It was all about kindness and forgiveness.
  3. All that Happens has a Reason. Especially the most difficult moments of our lives. Hence, look at this as part of life – there is the beautiful and there is the ugly, there is good and there is bad, there is joy and there is pain. 

In each Mass:

  • We thank God for his faithfulness despite the many times we were not faithful.
  • We remember with forgiveness the people that have hurt and betrayed us.
  • May we have the grace and humility to ask for forgiveness from the people we have hurt. We should always bear in mind, that our time is different from God’s time.

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