Today during Palm Sunday mass, we had a fire alarm. Yes, a fire alarm, right dab in the middle of the consecration, what we Catholics consider the most sacred part of the mass. Some of us headed for the nearest exit, others remained in the church, including Father Izzy who stood calmly at the altar and masterfully continued the celebration of the mass.
Coincidental? Accidental? I’m not sure and I may never know, but I do know one thing: it should be alarming to all of us that a week before Jesus was crucified as a criminal he rode into Jerusalem as a king. The very same people who adoringly waved palms at Him ordered Pontius Pilate to “crucify him” mere days later.
We’ve all had friends and others we love turn on us and emotionally wound us. Nothing hurts more. Each of us has been disappointed and let down by someone we trusted and believed in. But even Ernest Hemingway said “the best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
Trust and forgive. Two monumental words in the Christian faith. Trust and believe in that which we don’t necessarily see and forgive even our enemies. Hard things to do, but Jesus practiced what he preached when, as he stood dying on the cross said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He forgave those who sentenced him to die. He forgave his disciple Peter who denied his allegiance to Jesus. He continue to forgive all who ask. That’s what we trust and what we believe.
Forgiveness plays a central role in the Bible. The very prayer God taught us, “The Lord’s Prayer,” specifically says “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Want forgiveness? Give forgiveness.
I tend to be a fairly forgiving person, which means I can also be taken advantage of. When I reach the end of my rope, however, I definitely take on the “screw me once” attitude and will probably never trust you again. Lewis Smedes says “you will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.” I agree, but sometimes I also agree with this:
In the end, I will try to remember “W.W.J.D.” and hope He never gives up on me.