The three readings I felt were better treated separately rather than pull one theme out of all or a couple of them, yet through them all there is the sense of the presence of God in our life as a community and as individuals seeking to be faithful to the gospel.
I got a very clear image last week of a real sense of gracelessness working in our community at local and at the national level.
If our communities of faith are supposed to be places where we acknowledge God’s grace at work then surely we must become islands of grace in a sea lacking such a quality.
I was taken last week by an interview with a mother whose daughter and grandchild had been killed in a car crash that led to a conviction for the teenage driver of the other car for deliberate homicide, with the claim she had decided to commit suicide. She has no recollection of the time leading up to the crash or after and while sad that the people were killed, was not able or able to take responsibility for the accident – there were other factors, night, road works, lane changes which may have affected both drivers.
When the mother was asked whether she was prepared to forgive the girl she said “No, not until she was prepared to take responsibility for her actions!”
That leaves her in a difficult place. How can she move on, get closure, not allow the bitterness to corrode?
Forgiveness is not a tit for tat exchange. It is pure gracious gift which cannot be ordered on demand or traded for remorse.
I think it also has something to say on this tenth anniversary of 9/11.