Tuesday of the First Week of Lent




Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 225

1st Reading – IS 55:10-11

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19

R. (18b) From all their distress God rescues the just.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.

Verse Before The Gospel – MT 4:4B

One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

Gospel – MT 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

Forgiving Others and Being Forgiven

“If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:14-15

This passage presents us with an ideal we must strive for. It also presents us with the consequences if we do not strive for this ideal. Forgive and be forgiven. Both must be desired and sought after.

When forgiveness is properly understood, it is much easier to desire, give and receive. When it is not properly understood, forgiveness can be seen as a confusing and heavy burden and, therefore, as something undesirable.

Perhaps the greatest challenge to the act of forgiving another is the sense of “justice” that can appear to be lost when forgiveness is given. This is especially true when forgiveness is offered to someone who fails to ask forgiveness. On the contrary, when one does ask for forgiveness, and expresses true remorse, it is much easier to forgive and to abandon the feeling that the offender should “pay” for what was done. But when there is a lack of sorrow on the part of the offender, this leaves what can feel like a lack of justice if forgiveness is offered. This can be a difficult feeling to overcome by ourselves.

It’s important to note that forgiving another does not excuse their sin. Forgiveness does not mean that the sin did not happen or that it is OK that it happened. Rather, forgiving another does the opposite. Forgiving actually points to the sin, acknowledges it and makes it a central focus. This is important to understand. By identifying the sin that is to be forgiven, and then forgiving it, justice is done in a supernatural way. Justice is fulfilled by mercy. And the mercy offered has an even greater effect on the one offering mercy than the one it is offered to.

By offering mercy for the sin of another, we become freed of the effects of their sin. Mercy is a way for God to remove this hurt from our lives and free us to encounter His mercy all the more by the forgiveness of our own sins for which we could never deserve on our own effort.

It’s also important to note that forgiving another does not necessarily result in reconciliation. Reconciliation between the two can only happen when the offender accepts the forgiveness offered after humbly admitting their sin. This humble and purifying act satisfies justice on a whole new level and enables these sins to be transformed into grace. And once transformed, they can even go so far as to deepen the bond of love between the two.

Reflect, today, upon the person you most need to forgive. Who is it and what have they done that has offended you? Do not be afraid to offer the mercy of forgiveness and do not hesitate in doing so. The mercy you offer will bring forth the justice of God in a way that you could never accomplish by your own efforts. This act of forgiving also frees you from the burden of that sin, and enables God to forgive you of your sins.

Lord, I am a sinner who is in need of Your mercy. Help me to have a heart of true sorrow for my sins and to turn to You for that grace. As I seek Your mercy, help me to also forgive the sins that others have committed against me. I do forgive. Help that forgiveness to enter deep into my whole being as an expression of Your holy and Divine Mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.

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