Forgiveness is life, lack of forgiveness is death. Meditation by don Marco Gnavi on the death sentence of Quintin Jones

May 19 2021

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Video and text of the meditation on Mt.6, 7-15

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The prayer the Lord Jesus has placed on our lips and in our hearts concentrates on forgiveness of sins, ours and those of others, and on the liberation from evil.
And thus forgiveness appears to be in the centre of this common invitation that accompanies our lives every day. So we live a paradox because all the life of Christians is filled with forgiveness - in the preaching that is offered every day, on Sundays when we repeat we are not worthy to participate to the Supper of the Lord. Indeed, we are offered the bread of life. All of Christian life, we could say, is forgiveness, because our life is a gift that , because of sin, we have exchanged with possession. That is why we talk a lot about forgiveness, but we resist to offer it. Jesus tells us not to waste words on forgiveness.
Tonight Quintin Jones, a 42-year-old beggar for forgiveness, painfully explains that forgiveness is life, lack of forgiveness is death. Fifteen days ago, this young African-American, detained in a death row in Texas, asked to be helped to ask for clemency. Many say that tonight he will be executed, killed, murdered by the state. Because giving death is also a political choice at this time. While executions are swinging in the United States, in Texas they have to be maintained. Those who have listened to the words of this young man, would hear his meekness, his request with no anger and desperate hope.
Forgiveness and life coincide, lack of forgiveness and death painfully coincide. We have the duty of hope and the responsibility of prayer. We know well that thoughts, work and lack of good are carrying evil and save neither ourselves nor others. On the contrary, we believe that it is necessary to hope against any hope, ask for the impossible and work so that the impossible may become reality.
Jesus says that if this world of ours, this generation of ours, if we are not able to forgive others, we shall also be measured by God with this measure and it will be difficult to receive clemency. There is a difference in life: doing evil is not the same thing for everyone. Evil has its roots in men and women who are weaker. We have been preserved from so much pain, so much violence, so much suffering. Everything leads us to say that if life is a gift, we must preserve the life of others.
In Lord Jesus forgiveness is doing the will of the Father, he is offering the daily bread, offering justice, bringing the kingdom closer. Our prayer, as we look for the salvation of Quintin, must be accompanied by this obedience to the will of the Father in the next days and always in life. We are certain that the Lord listens.
We know that we are not ready, that our invocation is weak. However, we believe that whoever lives the painful trial of imminent death may feel a mysterious embrace, he has the Lord next to him and can still hope in life.
Let us ask God, we that have been all our lives forgiven and reconciled, to offer salvation to those who beg forgiveness from others, to do their lives a gift again. And we are in solidarity with all the family of the victim of the murder that this man has confessed. He has recognised this terrible evil which happened twenty years ago.
We are in solidarity with this family who has started to love even Quintin and asked for grace. We are in solidarity with Quintin who has done of his life a witness of those who search for novelty and mercy. We are in solidarity with every man and woman who cannot believe in the mystery of the existence of the length of life according to the will of God, but is forced to face the vengeance of men and women. Our forgiveness, offered in daily life, may teach us to save the lives of those who never receive it. Let us never become judges. Let us never make the others suffer. We need to free the others and not make them dependent on us. We know that in the world, from the refusal of forgiveness there is vengeance, from death suffered there is death inflicted in a conscious and determined manner. May the Lord's prayer Our Father help us to be one family, even in front of the injustice of death penalty, asking for the salvation of those who are sentenced to death, asking for salvation of each one of us, of every attempt to become judges, asking for the salvation of this world from all retributive logic, forgetting that we owe everything to God, that life is a gift and that we are always forgiven.


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