Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
The story is told in Madrid of a father and his teenage son. The rebellious son just could not get on with his Dad so he ran away from home. His father, however, began to search the streets of the city for his son but to no avail. In a last-ditch attempt to find him, he put an advert in the city newspaper. It read, “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the newspaper office tomorrow at noon. All is forgiven. I love you. Dad”
The next day at 12 o’clock the front of the newspaper office was swamped as a crowd of 800 Paco’s lined the pavement, seeking forgiveness and love.
Who were the ones that didn’t know? Soldiers – obeying orders; religious leaders – upholding the faith; civil authorities – keeping the peace; the crowd – eager for the latest spectacle, yes, and sympathisers – busy keeping their heads down. And Jesus cried, “Father forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.”
‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ Yes Lord, we were there; we are there. All of us are there and the tragedy is that it takes a crucifixion to make us aware of the fact.
Prayer: Father, forgive us the sins which at the time don’t seem all that terrible; but are sins which play a part in crucifying others. Forgive us our hasty judgements, our hiding behind custom or tradition and our refusals to face upsetting criticisms. Forgive us our unwillingness to be involved in other people’s troubles and the plausible excuses with which we deny responsibility, or assume we have discharged it with a small donation to a worthy cause. And forgive us that we manage to so dull our senses that most times we do not even know what we are doing. Father forgive.