By Dr. Carol Younger
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped. ~ Phillipians 2:6
“Forgiveness is the secret of peace,” Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga, priest of Rwanda, an evangelist, and healer, wrote in his book of the same name. He lived what he wrote, forgiving in person the murderer of his mother. His ministry changed Rwanda. After meeting him, listening to his soft-spoken homilies, watching his Masses and healings—I read his words and pondered over them many months. It has all slowly changed how I see myself and my sins. It helped me see my own need for forgiveness, not only my need to forgive others. Today’s second reading shocks me into realizing for both of those needs just how far I have to go.
St. Paul’s Christological Hymn to Jesus, Phillipians 2:6-11, lauds the Incarnate Son of God, who laid aside glory, became one of us, showed us how to forgive and how to live this secret of peace in his Passion, Death, and Resurrection. His first words on the Cross are, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” In these first words, Jesus joined with the Trinity, forgives all sins, all men and women from his throne of the Cross. His sacrificial forgiveness offers peace instead of condemnation in relationship with God and with each other.
Jesus’ first word to his disciples also in his Resurrection appearance is “Peace.” What was it that bought and brought that peace only Jesus could bring to them? Humility and obedience to His Father. Humble, knowing he belonged to the Father, Jesus obediently did his Father’s will. Jesus did not ask for vindication when arrested, condemned, then put to death. He looked for the Father’s glory in humility and obedience.
Pondering this is where I realized just how far away I am from that forgiveness which Jesus spoke from the Cross (and from Fr. Ubald’s mission of forgiveness bringing peace). Am I humble and obedient when wronged or treated poorly? Regardless of right or wrong done to me, do I ask the Father to forgive others’ wrongs?
Beloved Jesus, bestow on me Your humility and obedience to the Father. Help me forgive others who may have offended me. May I pray and offer them forgiveness, as you taught us to pray in the Our Father. Amen.
Call to Action
Complete a simple act of kindness today for another person, friend or stranger. Offer it to God out of obedience and humility for his glory only.
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