Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the need for forgiveness, not because I’m particularly troubled by my own failure at reconciliation (I am. But that’s another story.). Rather, I’ve been troubled by a number of students who seem to find forgiveness impossible. Some truly believe that the sins they have committed are unforgiveable. And because of that, they stay away from confession, from mass and even from prayer.

When we can’t even see ourselves as forgiveable, what chance might we have to be able to forgive others? I hasten to say that they answer may be none. We cannot give what we can’t receive, what we don’t have an experience of.

In the great prayer that Jesus taught us, we pray that our sins are erased just as we forgive the sins of others. That only seems fair. After all forgiveness is not cheap or facile.

Desmond Tutu reminds us that “Reconciliation is never easy. In fact, it cost God his only son.”

God so loved us that God couldn’t bear not to reconcile with us. It was there that God gave us the ultimate sign of His love. On the cross, Jesus forgives even those who drive the nails into his flesh. God forgives those who not only don’t accept God’s gift of his very self, but even those who kill Him. How much more can he forgive us?