The Perspective of Justice
Jesus had been abandoned by his disciples at the time of his death. One of them had turned him over to the authorities. Another had denied he even knew Jesus. The others ran away, apparently in fear and horror.
That same fear still gripped the disciples as they stayed behind locked doors. The risen Jesus suddenly appears among them, and there is not a word about their betrayal, denial, and abandonment.
“Peace be with you,” he says, as though nothing had ever happened. They look at his wounds, and he repeats his remarkable greeting: “Peace be with you.”
If only we could follow in the footsteps of Christ and wish peace to everyone! If only we could forgive as he forgave! Where would be the wars? the discrimination? the hatred? the death penalty? They would go the way of death itself, conquered by the resurrection.
Jesus assures us that we have received the Holy Spirit. We have the power to release others of their wrongs against us, just as we have the power to keep them and ourselves bound. Our Easter faith that we have “become a new creation” should strengthen our resolve to forgive as Christ forgave.
We urge our brothers and sisters in Christ to remember he teaching of Jesus, who called us to be reconciled with those who have injured us and to pray for forgiveness for our sins “as we forgive those who have sinned against us.”
We call on you to contemplate the crucified Christ, who set us the supreme example of forgiveness and of the triumph of compassionate love.
U.S. Bishops, Statement on Capital Punishment, 1980:23.
Now published in book form, To Love and Serve: Lectionary Based Meditations, by Gerald Darring This entire three year cycle is available at Amazon.com.
**From Saint Louis University