by Nadia Ramoutar MMM Communications Coordinator Ireland 24.03.2023
One day, when my son was very little after school he was crying. Like any parent, I was concerned.
‘I have really bad news,’ he sobbed. ‘They murdered Jesus. Murdered him.’
I must have omitted elements of my version of the Easter story to my son, perhaps feeling he wasn’t ready for the darkness of it all. Being human, I have a way of trying to make things seem easier than they are for my children.
Is this what Jesus was doing in Luke 23:34, Jesus said ‘Forgive them Father, they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothing by casting lots.
He seemed to understand that the other people could not be on his level yet. Was Jesus trying to make things easier on others? The Roman soldiers, the Roman leaders, Judas, the friends who didn’t intervene to save him and his followers Religious scholars argue as to who Jesus was actually asking them to forgive, but in his intense pain and suffering this was his reaction.
In our own lives it is easy to feel betrayed. We can look at the evening news or open a newspaper and think that the world around us in completely falling apart. At closer examination of history though, when has human history not had treachery and war? Can we look at a specific year and say ‘Oh, no one was murdered or raped or betrayed that year.’ Almost always, somewhere in the human world there is trouble.
Do these words in his dark hours also offer us a lesson. Is Jesus showing us how to avoid being bitter. Instead of wasting his last hours in hatred, blaming other people and feeling wronged, he is showing concern for those who hurt him. Forgiveness is not an easy trait to master. It is not easy to turn the other cheek as we feel angered or slighted.
Jesus is the master of compassion, he shows us what love in action looks like throughout his life. Not only when he was being hailed as a leader and healer, but when he was downtrodden and treated like a common thief.
Perhaps detachment is the hardest of the spiritual lessons to learn. We cannot take our circumstances or the actions of the people around us so to heart that it destroys us. We have to find a place within us that only knows love, kindness and peace. It is not easy to get to this place and certainly not easy to stay there.
Again, Jesus shows us how to transcend our human condition and ascend to a higher plain.
As we celebrate Easter, perhaps we can find room in our heart to pardon those who we do not like or understand. We can find a way to be less judgemental and more open. We can see that people don’t really try to persecute us sometimes they are just ignorant and they don’t know what they are doing.
The idea that our suffering was not ‘intentional’ but born out of ignorance is a new world view.
My greatest lesson in this though is that I don’t need to find retribution. I don’t need to seek revenge or settle scores. All I need to do it turn it over to God, the Father. This reminder is one of the greatest hidden gifts Jesus gives us every Easter.