Volumes and volumes have been written on the matter of forgiveness. Many of us know that our ability or inability to forgive tremendously impacts us emotionally, physically and spiritually. Resentments eat away at us and prevent us from fully living our lives.
Perhaps we believe that some sins are unforgiveable. In the course of our lives we encounter a range of offenses, from the “stealing” of a parking space to loss of life or the traumatic ending of a relationship. Are we to handle the call to forgiveness the same in each?
Indeed, we are called to do just that.
On this, the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that shook us to our core, we are reminded of that call to forgiveness. As we look at the Illumination from the Gospel of Luke, the “Luke Anthology,” we focus on the parable of the lost son. Here we find a story of forgiveness offered by a father to his son who has finally returned home. The father asks no questions and makes no demands. Instead, he joyously welcomes the boy back to the life of the family.
Just beyond the colorful robe being offered by the father we see two golden structures emerging from the ground. The Twin Towers have been placed here to point to the need for deep forgiveness—an act that goes far beyond the apologies we offer and accept in our daily lives. The towers remind us that Jesus calls us to forgive when the offense is great and the loss unbearable.
And on this most somber day, let us remember that the artists who worked to create The Saint John’s Bible purposefully used gold throughout to symbolize the presence of God. Thus, as we remember that dark day and all of the loss that came as a result, we also remember that God was present then and is with us now.
Perhaps that reality will help us as we take on the task of forgiving.
Together let us remember those that were lost, seek comfort for those that remain, offer forgiveness to those that trespassed against us and share gratitude with those who courageously served.
© Luke Anthology, 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.