Lenten Reflection Week 1: Luke 23:34

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

Just picture it; Jesus, after having been scourged  and made to carry His own cross to “the place of the Skull” [Golgotha in Aramaic, Kranion in Greek, and Calvary in Latin] prays this prayer to The Father.

In physical pain, unimaginable to most of us, He can ask for the forgiveness for His murderers.

How are we at this? Can we pray a prayer like this in our situation in life, or do we let circumstances override our relationship with God? Can we ask for the forgiveness of those who have hurt us, stolen from us unjustly accused us of….whatever? Can we even grant forgiveness ourselves?

In many way, if we are honest with ourselves, we know we fall way short in this area. As Christians, we should knowthat we are called “to share in the sufferings of Christ” (Phil.3:10) and to “bless those who persecute you, bless and curse not” (Rom.12:14). Yet we, in our pride [maybe?] and in our selfishness, think “I deserve better” and plot our revenge; we do not bless – we curse and never lift a prayer for our persecutors.

Have we become so callous as Christians as to not live by the words of our Lord, thinking He’d understand? Well, He won’t!

As Matthew 6:12 clearly states: and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and the Catechism of the Catholic Church expounds on in paragraphs 2840- 2842:

Now—and this is daunting—this outpouring of mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see. In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father’s merciful love; but in confessing our sins, our hearts are opened to his grace.
This petition is so important that it is the only one to which the Lord returns and which he develops explicitly in the Sermon on the Mount. This crucial requirement of the covenant mystery is impossible for man. But “with God all things are possible.”

. . . as we forgive those who trespass against us

This “as” is not unique in Jesus’ teaching: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”; “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful”; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make “ours” the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave” us.

So, during this Lenten Season, let us reevaluate our relationship with God through Christ, by examining our relationships with others – in particular our forgiveness toward one another.

Here are a few more verses for us to reflect on:

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matt. 5:10-12

But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, Matt. 5:44

If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions. Matt. 14-15

                 Here is a Lenten prayer that we can pray as well:

Dear God, show us Your Face. Help us to listen, see, touch, taste and smell our way to You. In Your presence, You love us completely and all the wounds that life has inflicted on us close up. Teach us courage, so that we may hold fast to that which is good; and not render evil for evil. God, grant us Your gracious mercy and protection. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.



6 Responses

  1. Thanks Tim!

    Oh, that I (and all followers of Jesus) would practice forgiveness as God forgives. What a difference that would make in our being “salt and light”.

    – tom

  2. It isn’t easy, but we must continually forgive….you know 70 x 7 = 24/7.

    Thank you Tom.

  3. <>

    I love it! I’ve not seen that “equation” before. That one is getting printed and going on my wall to remind me to live it.


  4. […] 1. “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” […]

  5. thank you
    God Bless

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