Jesus has spoken many words that we all would love to hear from him, but I would venture to guess that the words “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” would have to be on top of our list. In that one simple statement Jesus summed up humanity and His relationship with it.
Jesus forgave them of their sins even though they did not yet understand. WOW, that is powerful, and might I say, very beautiful. Jesus, in his own time of need was concerned about the salvation of people who have not even excepted Him, how many of us could say the same thing?
How many of us could look out for, care for and love people who do not look out, care for or love us? We often times find it hard to love, care for and look out for the ones we do love. The human condition takes over and we end up looking out for ourselves. The selfish side of humanity has a strong pull on us, and most of us give in to that pull. Jesus, being fully human would have struggled with that same pull, he too would have to find the inner strength, look to God His Father for the inner peace needed to forgive His persecutors. Not something we do everyday, but something we want everyday.
Funny thing forgiveness, we are always willing to accept it, but we hoard it like a treasure, giving it out sparingly and often times attaching strings to it. If we look at the life of Jesus, we will learn that Jesus offered his forgiveness with out strings attached, he gave it freely. Yes we have to be open to it, and yes we must continue to strive to be perfect as Jesus is perfect, but His forgiveness of us was not conditional, our accepting His forgiveness, well that’s up to us.
Jesus, being God and all, said and did many wonderful things, from healing the sick to forgiving the unforgivable, His life was one filled with abundant Graces from God. His life was a blessed life, one that we too are called to share in, if we are open to God’s graces.
Jesus is our living example of how we are to live our lives, we are to follow in His footsteps, and to emulate His compassion and love for our fellow human beings. The power of forgiveness has shaped our world, as has the power of un-forgiveness, the centuries past and yet to come will be marked with the wounds of Christ, the everlasting reminder of God’s tremendous ability to love and forgive.
Easter is a time to remember the power of forgiveness, even under persecution, Easter is a time to open our own tomb’s our hearts, to let the light of Christ shine in and to take off our death wrappings, lay them to the side and to once again walk among the living, the ones who live in Christ Jesus.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” each word of that simple phrase drips with love and compassion, each utterance is a statement of understanding and commitment to the human race.
Forgiveness holds the power for authentic freedom, for yourself and others. Nations and individuals alike, Christians and pagans, the free and the enslaved, forgiveness knows no boundaries holds no prejudice and sees no limits. We, the fallen race, keep forgiveness harness to the ground with pride and ego, we keep forgiveness captive in our hearts and our souls suffer for our ignorance.
Easter a time of great rejoicing, a time of unparalleled forgiveness. Easter a time to remember our past as we live it in our now.