Father Mark, Reflections

What Forgiveness Is

As I was engaged with our beloved late Bishop Bob Hibbs’ book, An Altar in Your Heart, the thought came to me about Easter again.  Easter was different this past year, not in the event itself but in the way we observed it.  Easter, if we are awakened to its infinite Reality, is every Sunday and every day.   We are fed both communally by the Christ who comes through each of us to others and individually through the time we invest in quiet moments to reflect, contemplate and receive the Divine Breath of “Peace be with you.”  Due to the COVID-19, the balance of being fed spiritually through the community and individually has been skewed requiring a more intentional focus on the individual prayer life to sustain our spiritual core.

Bob writes of mercy being like a river from God to us.   Mercy flows between our own personal and collective Good Friday’s and Christ’s benevolent, radiant Easter presence carrying us by the Spirit into Christ and the Father so that the words of Jesus become a reality:  “May we be one as the Father and I are one.” 

So what this forgiveness actually does—this never ending stream of Living Water, is carry us into God.  Forgiveness isn’t just an erasing of our naughty check marks on the black board.  Forgiveness, the Living Stream of mercy, changes us—heals us, transforms us, enlightens our darkness down to our toe nails.  We aren’t the same after we receive forgiveness because receiving forgiveness is receiving Christ himself.  We’re not meant to be our old phony, try to get by, afraid to reveal, scared to be honest, afraid to be still, resentful, afraid to be hurt, and scared to give or receive love, selves.   Jesus’ Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor scared the beegeebers out of Peter, James and John.  They couldn’t hold the Light coming through Jesus.   Light hurts before it feels good.  It’s like a stiff muscle.  We know we need to exercise it to get the full range of motion.  But boy does it hurt on the way getting there.  But once we’re there, oh what a joy to be free to move again!  The Transfiguration is like a holy laser that cuts through everything that afflicts us, either removing it or transforming it.  Let us bathe in your Blessed Light O Jesus and give us the faith to remain present through any discomfort to receive your healing. 

Forgiveness is a stream of mercy and Divine Light eternally available to us.   This is what Easter does.

Forgiveness doesn’t work like the commercial’s positive attitude of saying, ’”just do it.” Like Mary, let us with open hearts respond, “Let it (forgiveness) be done to me according to thy Word.”  

May the Peace and Light of Forgiveness be yours this day and hereafter,

Fr. Mark