Hope you are all doing well. It seems we are having more rain than we wanted. Thank God we did not get any major catastrophe here in our place like a few other places in the state this past week and the one before (at least I did not hear anything like that). We need to pray for those affected very much by the storms and rain in the past few days. Hope and pray that things will eventually get better for all those affected.
A few days ago, I got a video clip from the social media. It was about a man named Gary Leon Ridgway, otherwise known as the Green River Killer. This man is called so because he killed many people (almost 49 confirmed, and around 75-80 as he himself claims) and most of those victims he dumped into the Green River in King County, Washington. That video had a scene from one of the trials of that psychotic killer. He was in the court room with a stern face. He was pleading guilty for all the murders he had committed. When he was pleading guilty for all the murders he never showed any sign of remorse or a sense of guilt or shame. To me he seemed proud of his inhuman acts.
In the courtroom there was a time allotted for the public, mostly relatives of the victims, to speak out. During that time many people gave vent to their anger and cursed him. His response to all these talks seemed very weird as he did not have any reaction on his face. Before the final verdict of the judge, one elderly man with a beard stood up and spoke words similar to these: ‘Sir, you made it very hard to live up to what I believe and it is what God says to do and that is to forgive and He doesn’t say to forgive just certain people, He says to forgive all so you are forgiven sir and I feel sorry for you.’ The man’s voice was broken and at the same time he was strong in what he was saying. The killer broke down as he was gazing at the elderly person who was uttering such unbelievable words right into his eyes and ears. Those words went right into his heart and broke it and as a result tears started rolling down on his rocky cheeks. (I have given the YouTube link for this in case you want to watch it, see from the 40th minute of the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuokSat3y6o )
The power of forgiveness is tremendous. It can rend any hard heart. That rend is so pointed that it brings the hardest part of the heart out, and makes the heart so tender that the person feels sorry and ashamed of his act. Those feelings of being sorry and of shamefulness pave the way for conversion in turn. This is the power of forgiveness. But on the other hand, if one tends to take revenge for the wrongdoing of another person, the other one’s heart is made harder and he becomes defensive which makes the situation worse and two people lose the peace of mind and break the relationship.
We are called to be people of good human values. If we, who are called to be so, but do not commit to be that kind of people, what good can we expect from the ordinary people who may not know the call, or who do not know Him? Only we could and should be the people who render to the world all that is good, in spite of our weaknesses. If not, on what basis we can be called Christians? No way at all. “For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” (Lk: 6:32) This is what Jesus asks us. We have a couplet in Tamil that goes like this: இன்னாசெய் தார்க்கும் இனியவே செய்யாக்கால் என்ன பயத்ததோ சால்பு. (Thirukkural:987). Its meaning is this: Of what avail is perfect goodness if it cannot do pleasing things even to those who have caused it pain? This is what we need to reflect upon.
Yours sincerely in Christ Jesus, Fr. A. Antony