Love and Forgive

It has been 10 years since the day the US was attacked by terrorists and New York’s Twin Towers fell.
Thinking back, I remember how unreal it felt. There was coverage running over and over of one of the towers on fire with smoke and the second plane being flown into the other tower. The images played over in my mind of what it must have been like for the people there at work that day. It horrified me to think of someone on the phone saying, “Oh God” as they see a plane headed right for their floor. When I heard that some people on Flight 93 had actually spoken to loved ones on cell phones and worked together to crash the plane before it hit the intended target, I was in awe and at the same time horrified.
For weeks following that day, I had trouble sleeping. I had nightmares of terrorists breaking into my house and doing unthinkable things to my baby girl. I remember thinking that watching anything happen to my daughter would be worse than death. Most likely, I was suffering a form of anxiety but I worked through it without medication. I remember that Craig and I thought we would have no more children…what kind of world was this? And we felt horrible that our daughter was born into it.
I know those are normal feelings when something so terrible happens. But it doesn’t make it any easier to experience them. It was a scary time. It IS a scary time.
In our Gospel this week (Matthew 18:21-35) Peter asks Jesus if we should forgive 7 times. And Jesus says that is not enough. That we must forgive 70 times 7. As our priest said in his homily, Peter probably thought he was being quite generous offering to forgive seven times. The priest also said that Bible scholars agree Jesus is referring to infinite forgiveness and he follows it with a parable that reflects God’s Love for us and that he forgives us over and over…infinitely. God says we must forgive each other the same way He forgives us.  When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we pray that God “forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us.”  That little word “as” sure makes a huge difference, huh?
I remember hearing this reading close to when the attacks happened 10 years ago. I was so angry and fearful then. It was a hard thing to hear that I must forgive this atrocity…even should it happen again and again. I still get fearful when I think of the events of September 11, 2001. It is difficult not to fear terrorism…fear is the desired result for those who commit terrorist acts. But the fear is often a fleeting thing; I feel it and then I move on because I cannot live my life in fear.
A common theme on this day is that we never forget. And I’m glad. I don’t think we should ever forget 9/11, even though we forgive. What happened on that day is a glimpse of true evil in our time.
We must always remember what evil looks like.  It is not often that evil shows its face so openly, we often must uncover the layers to find and identify and expose evil.  In this case, evil was right there to be seen.

The ultimate triumph over evil is love.  And love=forgiveness.  Jesus died on the cross forgiving the world’s sins that put him there.  Jesus loves us and forgives us infinitely.

When we forgive those who do evil to us, we love them the way God loves us.

So remember, yes.  And FORGIVE.