Jesus Takes Revenge

In today’s reading, Jer 11:18-20, Jeremiah wants revenge.  He sees himself as a trusting lamb led to slaughter; although he knew he was in danger, he did not realize that his enemies were hatching plots against him.  Jeremiah wants vengeance and he wants to be there to witness it in spades.

“Let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause!”

In today’s homily, Monsignor, asks, “How does Jesus take vengeance on His enemies?”  Monsignor answers,  “He dies for them!”

Christians imitate Jesus. Scripture directs us in dealing with our enemies:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:43-44
If your enemy be hungry, give him food to eat, if he be thirsty, give him to drink;
For live coals you will heap on his head, and the LORD will vindicate you. Proverbs 25:22

We are all in the same boat, we are all sinners, enemies of  God, so long as we persist in Sin.  Jesus, for his part, dies for us. He has prayed for his enemies, “Father, forgive them!” He has fed them, “Take and eat!” He has satisfied their thirst, “Take and drink!”

Jesus appeals to the heart of men.  We can turn away.  We can experience, with Jesus, rejection.  In all these circumstances Jesus says pray.  That prayer is powerful, whether it is prayer of praise, worship, thanksgiving, adoration, or petition.

If we could only see it with Heaven’s eyes as John did as he records in the Book of Revelation:

“And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Rev 5:8

“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple.”Rev 7:14

What is this washing of their robes, if it is not the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  If it were referring to Baptism, they would not be doing the washing, whereas in Reconciliation we have an active role.

Jesus wants what’s best for each of us. He wants enemies (sinners) to feel the hot coals of  prayer heaped upon them.  To see ourselves as Jesus sees us when we sin can be distressing. Such a moment, though wrenching, is a moment of grace. Jesus desires a response of the heart that sends the sick and sorrowful to show themselves to the priest for healing and forgiveness.

Our revenge is to be like our Christ. Our revenge is to die to ourselves with our Christ.  Our revenge is to see the enemies of Christ come forth from the confessional with tears of joy and thanksgiving in all humility; no longer enemies but as brothers.

What will it take? Prayer.  All are called, moment by moment, while we live, “Repent and believe the Good News!” Mk 1:15

That’s Not Forgiveness – That’s Revenge

“That’s not forgiveness; that’s revenge.”  Father, whose on the older side of old and on the happy side of holy, can speak those hard to hear words because the day to day battle’s of life have yielded a humble, gentle man. His words have the haunting power of the Holy Ghost.

It is true that there is a certain perverse pleasure in holding-on to a grudge.  Sulking off and licking the wound can become a ritual of sorts.  Forgiving does break into my world of remembered, if not treasured, trove of offenses.  What price the bounty for your absoultion? The very idea of Scott-free seems unfair.  So what cost forgiveness?

Will a litany of the pain I’ve suffered suffice? That doesn’t really touch-on just how bad you are for hurting me (real or imagined.) Do I get a chance to tell you?  Still, that doesn’t even come to tit-for-tat.  If I do my generous deed, can I still take the memory out and feel self-justified?  Or will my good angels shake a finger at me?  Letting you off my hook  would be easier if I could see you squirm a bit.

When I was kinder and gentler, I would have asked, “What would Jesus do?  My day to day seems to have hardened  my heart.  A pound of flesh, that’s the price I put on my forgiveness.  Hmmm………Father is right.  That’s not forgiveness.  That’s revenge!