The Church has talked about the need to forgive our enemies for centuries. One of Jesus’s greatest missions during his last hours on earth was to forgive his enemies. Not only did He forgive those who hurt Him physically, his soul was hurt by betrayal from his close friends and those who had followed Him. He predicted a close follower would betray him when he said,
“Very, truly, I tell you, one of your will betray me”. (John, 13:2 NAB)
It is hard to imagine what this must have been like for Jesus. Only those who have suffered immensely can understand how a trusted “friend” and a person you felt close with would betray you to the authorities to be killed. In our current world situation with its violence and hate, we see the utter sadness of suffering on our T.V screens. It is hard to watch but we must watch and pray. We see betrayal and pain. Christ experienced this kind of pain when He went through the Passion. At the heart of it all, Jesus accepted pain and betrayal because it brought about good for us.
Forgive and Make the Most of Your Holy Week
In your own prayer and life experiences, you have experienced suffering. You are human, so you have tasted betrayal. Making the most of this Holy Week is monumental for you and for me right now at this moment in history. Our prayers make a difference for the betrayal we have experienced and for all the pain and sadness every human being has encountered. God is still here with us in our hearts, in the Sacraments of our faith and even in the faces of both our friends and in our enemies. God is there in both the terrible times and the good times. God truly understands the entire story of our lives in its entirety.
Seeing the Light Ahead
In spite of our suffering, there is still much to be happy about amidst sadness. Today we hear a lot of talk about being “positive” and about being “happy”. Being Catholic means we experience joy but it also means we accept the suffering we face. The name of this suffering is “the cross” and we all have one. In fact, human beings have crosses whether they are Catholic, Christians, non-believers or those of all the other religions, even though they may not call them as such.
Embracing our Brothers and Sisters
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has made the following statement about the road to peace:
“The royal road to peace is to see others not as enemies to be opposed but as brother and sisters to be embraced”. -Pope Francis
As we move towards Easter, the light ahead includes the thought that we can even embrace our enemies in some way. Although we may have people from our past or in our present lives who see us as enemies, we can pray for them during this holy time. These prayers mean more than we can ever imagine. We can unite our prayers to the Pascal Mystery of Christ, the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. This is a much larger concept than our human minds can fathom. The savior of the world can take the very worst things of the earth and make them brand new. With all the suffering, loneliness, rejection, utter pain and great sadness we may experience, the events of Holy Week are kind of like our “Superman” in a way. The Lord will make miracles of all the evil things of the world. We may not see answers to our betrayals and tragedies in our lifetime, but we can be assured that since Jesus Christ did indeed complete his mission to “save the world” that he did just that. Easter is coming.
The Light of Easter
You may have a person whom you just cannot forgive from your past. It may seem impossible. Pray to God as our Holy Father suggests walking this “royal road” and see our enemies as creatures of God. We may not be able to “embrace” them face to face for many reasons, but we can “embrace” them with our prayers for peace. Pray for God’s goodness in the life of your enemy. As you do this, you will have a bright light which will shine inside your heart and this light will shine through to others. It can be done through the miracle of the Holy Week and of the deep prayers of your heart to your Lord.