Forgive Everyone. Everything. 

    March 27, 2024

    This year I had the opportunity to watch the musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, for the first time. In 7th grade our Religion class teacher had printed off the words to some of the songs and taught them to us, but that was the extent of my exposure. 

    What I appreciated most was the encouragement to wrestle, for the first time in my life, with Judas’ role in the Passion of Jesus. Through a Catholic undergrad and a Catholic theology master’s program, I had never given much thought or consideration to the plight and role of Judas.  My thinking and reflection was elementary – even perfunctory – taking no complexity into account. My questions remained: “How could a friend betray another friend? What does friendship and love mean to a person that could so easily hand someone over to death?”

    After the musical, my friend – who is not a churchgoer – and I delved into a deeper theological conversation about the lifespan of friendship: the beginning stages of getting to know someone, and then all the aspects of humanity that fit into building friendship, including forgiveness.  And the sometimes harsh angst of ending a friendship. 

    Yet Jesus modeled forgiveness as he was turned over to the Roman guards. He challenged and called out his betrayal from Judas.  But he did not swear, humiliate, or disparage Judas.

    Fr. Greg Boyle’s latest book, “Forgive Everyone Everything” has been a part of my Lenten morning ritual. It is a stunningly simple yet complex book with beautiful art by the artist Fabian Debora.  The book features excerpts from Fr. Greg’s previous books, laid out alongside Mr. Debora’s art. Readers are invited to sit with unknown people in the stories, who are people we most likely encounter every day.  We are invited to sit with them in their pain and joy, their happiness and grief, and understand that our call is to:  Forgive Everyone. Everything. 

    Genevieve Mougey is Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Wyoming.

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