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"Father forgive them. They know not what they do."

Ash Wednesday

February 17, 2021 •

Father Miller will offer a reflection on the Seven Last Words of Christ during his Sunday homilies during Lent. He begins this evening with the first "word" of our Lord during His Passion.

It's important to remind yourself that crucifixion was, and probably still is, one the greatest means of human torture. One, because you're hanging up by nails in your wrists and in your feet; and two, you don't die of blood loss. You die of suffocation. You choke on your own spittle. And it takes hours, even days. It's a slow agonizing death because it's nearly impossible to breathe. ...

Just to get a breath was an agony for the Lord. But imagine how much of a breath He had to get in order to speak from the Cross. These Seven Last sayings, these Seven Last Words of our Lord are precious statements. They cost Him more than any other statement He made during His entire life. So He didn't waste words.

"Father forgive them. They know not what they do."

Now I think we can assume that there were at least some people there who knew what they were doing. But He still pleads. And He still make excuses for us sinners. ...

Jesus pleads with His Heavenly Father, making excuses for us.

Imagine if every time someone offended you, you could think of at least one excuse why maybe it wasn't totally their fault. We'd forgive far more quickly. We probably wouldn't get as perturbed or as angry.

"Father forgive them. They know not what they do." I think it's easiest just to use the words of the Lord in our own lives in these instances of suffering when we're offended. "They must not know what they are doing. If they really knew how much they were hurting me, they would not have done it." ... So especially during this season of Lent, don't take offense so easily, don't be so sensitive. Use the words of the Lord yourself in your own little agonies. Just consider: maybe they didn't realize what they were doing when they hurt you. You'll find it is far more easy to be patient, and to forgive.

Jl 2:12-18; Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17; 2 Cor 5:20—6:2; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Homily begins at 13:09

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