Third Sunday of Easter

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the Third Sunday of Easter: CLICK HERE!

I am sure many of us remember the interview with Pope Francis shortly after being selected as Pope some 5 years ago (March 13, 2013), it seems like yesterday.  When asked by the interviewer, “Who is Pope Francis?” He responded, “a sinner.”

Like Peter of our Scriptures today, Pope Francis and hopefully each of us realize we are not perfect; and even at times do not witness to our calling to love God and love others and be faithful disciples, as we might.

And although Peter seems to be chastising the people for their involvement in the death of Jesus, to which they might add, “Hey Peter, you did the same,” but Peter comes to their defense when he says, “Perhaps you acted out of ignorance.”  But now we know better – Jesus is Raised, all that he said has come to be…

Our lives must now be better.  Our lives must reflect the love of God for us and all people.  Our lives must reflect the forgiveness of God.

I would guess there has been a time or two in our lives, when we expected an apology from someone who hurt us, treated us unfairly, for something whether serious or not as serious as we thought.

And we waited and waited and waited for an apology and it just did not come.  And we get more determined in waiting for the apology and more and more expectant of the apology that does not come.

And just maybe we need to forgive without the apology.

As the author of a the book, Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody shares, “Forgiveness will unleash a power in your life that is underrated and often ignored.  It is underrated mainly because it is underused.  We fail to capture the power of forgiveness because we are afraid of it, because we have grown comfortable in our familiar wounds, or because we are sinfully stubborn.  But the power is there waiting for us.  In the end – everybody needs to forgive somebody.”

And the story of Easter is forgiveness.  The story of Easter is Jesus, the Son of God, dying for our sins.  The story of Easter is the unconditional forgiveness and love by a God who loves us so much – He sends his only Son to gift us with Eternal Life.

God did not hold back his forgiveness and love.  God invites us to reflect his divine forgiveness and love with the people we journey with in this time and place.

Maybe this weekend, we can make a conscious decision to forgive.  Maybe today is the day to decide to be a forgiver.  Maybe we can even give a name to the person(s) we need to forgive.  And just maybe if we make forgiveness a centerpiece of our daily prayer, it might even change us more than it changes the people around us.

Just maybe being and becoming a forgiver will bring us closer and closer to experience the peace that Jesus greets us with and wishes us for today and always.