A Radical Choice

A Radical Choice

By Fr. Morgan Rice, CSB

An article (Nov. 12, 2017) in the online version of The Globe and Mail describes how Wilma and Cliff Derksen handled the death of their daughter Candace who was murdered in the mid-1980s in Manitoba. A darkness faced them: “an abyss of sadness and anger that could swallow a person and take away everything they loved, that would spread until it destroyed all that was beautiful”. They had lost their daughter but they were determined not to lose everything else, so they made the radical choice to forgive the murderer of Candace. It was a choice rooted in their Mennonite faith. It was not something that they did once and moved on; they had to choose forgiveness over and over again as a way of living. Last month, Christina Haugan offered forgiveness in court to the truck driver who pleaded guilty to several counts of dangerous driving causing multiple deaths in the collision with the bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos. Christina’s husband, Darcy, was among those who died. Like the Derksens, she had the courage and strength to choose the radical option of forgiveness as a way towards healing. It is probably one of Jesus’ most difficult teachings. In today’s Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. . . . Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6.27-28, 37). To forgive those who have offended us or have hurt us or someone we love is part of our fulfilling Jesus’ commandment to love others as he has loved us. It is part of acknowledging the dignity of every human being even those who have committed heinous crimes. Forgiveness is something that might not be easy for us to offer, yet it is something that God never tires of offering us. May our experience of being forgiven by God and the examples of people like the Derksens and Christina Haugan help us to find within ourselves the ability to make the radical choice of forgiveness each day. Sunday’s Readings: 1 Samuel 26.2, 7-9, 12-13, 22-25 Psalm 103 1 Corinthians 15.45-49 Luke 6.27-38