Saturday, December 09, 2006

Give Forgiveness a Chance

Mentioning John Lennon in yesterday's BH, I failed to note that the publish date coincided with the 26th anniversary of his death.

Remember well that, for most people, when they think 8 December, it's Lennon's shooting in front of the Dakota, not the Immacolata, that springs to mind. (This could be a very effective homily handle if someone had the chutzpah to use it.)

To mark the occasion, Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, published a full-page ad in several newspapers around the world with a message calling for the date to become one of forgiveness.
This year, though, on December 8th, while we remember John, I would also like us to focus on sending the following messages to the millions of people suffering around the world:

To the people who have also lost loved ones without cause: forgive us for having been unable to stop the tragedy. We pray for the wounds to heal.

To the soldiers of all countries and of all centuries, who were maimed for life, or who lost their lives: forgive us for our misjudgments and what happened as a result of them.

To the civilians who were maimed, or killed, or who lost their family members: forgive us for having been unable to prevent it.

To the people who have been abused and tortured: forgive us for having allowed it to happen.

Know that your loss is our loss.
Know that the physical and mental abuse you have endured will have a lingering effect on our society, and the world.
Know that the burden is ours.

As the widow of one who was killed by an act of violence, I don't know if I am ready yet to forgive the one who pulled the trigger. I am sure all victims of violent crimes feel as I do. But healing is what is urgently needed now in the world.

Let's heal the wounds together.
Every year, let's make December 8th the day to ask for forgiveness from those who suffered the insufferable.
"Love is the answer... Yes is the surrender...." "Mind Games": almost hymnlike.

Sure, Yoko admitted that she's still having a tough time extending the same to Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman. But that doesn't mean that the importance of reconciliation -- both extending and accepting it -- isn't a key to the peace and joy this blessed season's supposed to bring.