Sunday, September 11, 2005

Forgiving the Unforgivable

Today, everyone knows, is September 11th. It's the fourth anniversary of the horrific World Trade Center/Pentagon attacks. It is an also important day. It is a day for us Americans to reflect on how we should treat the rest of world, including the Muslims both here and across the world. How should we as Christians act? I don't be cliché like, but what would Jesus do? I ask this honestly. Should we treat hate with equal if not greater hatred? The answer should be apparent to you. NO. Revenge is best served on a cold platter, but it is something that should be removed from our vocabulary. Revenge is not reserved for us. God did not give us our gifts here, our one's here on an Earthly loan for the duration our lifespan, for hatred and revenge. Those are not the actions of true Christians. When I see overly judgmental, the ones who judge to a fault, I cringe. This includes myself at times. What place do we have to chastise our brother or sister if our own sins equal if not surpass our fellow brother or sister?

Take for instance the Gospel reading for Friday, September 9th:
Jesus told his disciples a parable:
“Can a blind person guide a blind person?
Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

--Luke 6:39-42

Another pertinent Bible passage on how we should handle hatred is the first reading from this Sunday's mass, of September 11th:
Wrath and anger are hateful things,
yet the sinner hugs them tight.
The vengeful will suffer the Lord’s vengeance,
for he remembers their sins in detail.
Forgive your neighbor’s injustice;
then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.
Could anyone nourish anger against another
and expect healing from the Lord?
Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself,
can he seek pardon for his own sins?
If one who is but flesh cherishes wrath,
who will forgive his sins?
Remember your last days, set enmity aside;
remember death and decay, and cease from sin!
Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor;
remember the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults.

--Sirach 27:30-28:7

How more true can this be? Hate not your neighbor. That's every neighbor, not just our Christian brothers. Do not cherish wrath as the others do, rather cherish love. Cherish God in all his glory.

May God give rest and repose to the victims of September 11th and strength of spirit to the their families on this difficult day. Amen.

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