Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1
Have you ever done anything you regretted? If you haven’t, I want to meet you because I’ve never met anyone who didn’t regret some things in their lives.
It seems that regret is something of a universal, human experience!
It’s no surprise to have regrets. After all, sometimes we take risks or do things that have consequences very different from what we planned or imagined. Or, sometimes we do things because we’re hurt, angry or afraid that we regret when things calm down a bit. And, of course, when we make decisions based on our feelings of righteousness or of vengeance (often enough rationalized as "justice") we have much to regret.
The Prophet Zechariah speaks of God pouring out on the house of David and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem a "spirit of grace and petition" that frees them to embrace their deep regrets over their destruction of the "one whom they have pierced" so that they can mourn and be purified from their great sin.
All of us need such a grace. Can we expect God to give us such a gift? Are you free enough to even receive such a grace? Or, are you locked into the prison of living in your regrets? A difficult dilemma we each much face!
Perhaps as we struggle with our regrets, the question Jesus asks of his apostles in today’s Gospel is an important question for us. "But who do you say that I (Jesus) am?" What is your answer? Can you reply with Peter, "The Christ of God!"? Or, are you trapped into believing something less?
If we believe that Jesus is "The Christ of God" then we know that God has given us the "spirit of grace" that frees us to mourn our regrets and be purified of our sin. That is, after all, what Christ has done for us. As St. Paul testifies in his letter to the Galatians, "through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus."
One of the great challenges of the Christian life is "to be who we are." We are God’s children through the death and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Today’s Scripture readings call us to welcome God’s transforming love into our lives. If we do, we are not only freed from the prison of our regrets, but are also freed to share God’s great love with all those in our lives.
Fr. Michael Higgins, C.P. is the director of the Passionist Development Office and is stationed at Immaculate Conception Retreat in Chicago.