I wonder what it is about being human that makes it so very hard, sometimes, to forgive. Is there something in our DNA that makes us hold grudges, want to get even, show someone up? Forgiveness is something everyone has to find a way to. We are clearly reminded of that in today's Gospel passage from Mark.
This is a complex passage with Jesus cursing a fig tree for not bearing fruit outside of it's blooming season, tearing up the temple's market place, predicting that if we but believe and have faith God will move mountains for us, and ends this rather mad dash around Jerusalem and its surrounds with an order that whenever we pray we must forgive anyone whom we are holding something against. If we take out the fig tree conundrum (an allegory by Mark about the Jerusalem leadership?) and the temple tirade and the moving mountains phenomenon, we come to this forgiveness thing.
Jesus is trying to get us to think about forgiveness and praying because if our minds are clouded with anger, or distracted by thoughts of conquest, winning, getting even, we cannot open ourselves to God, we cannot truly be available to hear God's whisper, God's loving caress. This is because not only are we distracted but we are our lesser selves when we are concentrating on vengeance. We are not loving ourselves, but actually hurting ourselves. Forgiveness does not mean trust, or liking, or making everything like it was before the breach. But forgiveness is linked to love: love of self, love of the world, love of God and God's love for us. Perhaps this is why Jesus focuses on forgiveness so often....because it is so hard to accomplish but it is also so vital for our lives.
Copyright 2009, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.