Commentary on the Gospel of
I remembered attending a seminar on Peace Education and the speaker said that the peace process will only start if the victim will first forgive his/her offender even if the latter has not asked for forgiveness. I found it very difficult to believe and I even considered it impossible especially at that time when I felt betrayed by a friend. I trusted him yet behind my back he was spreading lies in order to destroy my reputation and identity.
The speaker further said “if the victim will wait for the offender to apologize, it will rarely happen. Thus the peace process will not start and who ends up becoming the “loser”? It is the victim himself/herself again!”
Jesus in our gospel today tells us, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you …” This teaching is very different from what the world believes in. It is seemingly impossible but it is. Jesus has showed us an example, after he was scourged, beaten, mocked, and crucified. We read in the passion narratives Jesus saying to His Father: “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
Our Claretian martyrs who were at their early twenties were killed during the Spanish Civil War in 1936, and their writings and messages expressed with great clarity their desire to offer forgiveness to those who will execute them. They have entrusted their lives and their great faith to Mary and to the Father.
Moreover, our gospel today Jesus tells us “You have heard . . . But I say to you . . . That you may be children of your heavenly Father . . .” Jesus wants us all to be His children. Like any loving father, He wants his children to be one and at peace with one another. Thus he invites us to forgive and free ourselves from burdens that might hinder us from loving God and others. It is difficult but in the end it will do us all good and make us even better.
Few days after the Peace Education seminar, I had the chance to meet my friend who “betrayed” me. I had not talked with him for several months even when we occasionally met. I casually approached him that day, extended my right hand and said “Peace! I forgive you.” He extended his hand and we shook each other’s hands.” Now we remain friends although not like before, but I am free of anger and hatred, I became at peace with him and myself.