I caught most of the interview with Steven Spielberg and his parents on "60 Minutes" last night. I wish I had seen all of it, so, thanks to the magic of Internet, I got to see the web piece. Much of the piece centered on Spielberg's relationship with his father, with whom he had been angry and resentful for quite a long time after his parents' divorce. The director spoke of the beauty of their reconciliation and the peace that it has brought him and his dad.
This was a powerful testament to forgiveness. Forgiveness is more than some interior disposition or personal attitude. Forgiveness - true forgiveness - requires just as much (if not more) from the one forgiving as it does from the one being forgiven. True forgiveness must involve a transformation of both in order for a relationship to be repaired and reconciliation to be real.
Forgiveness is not easy. Often, it seems to go against "human nature." However, it is exactly this act of forgiving that is the first step toward peace and right relationships - what the biblically-minded would call "justice."
Paul VI is famously quoted as having said, "If you want peace, work for justice." True. But justice is more than a slogan or a label. It is a relationship. And so, John Paul II (whose feast day we celebrate today) also noted that if we want justice, we must work at forgiving.