Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent




Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 238

1st Reading – DN 3:25, 34-43

Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:

“For your name’s sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever,
or make void your covenant.
Do not take away your mercy from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your beloved,
Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one,
To whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven,
or the sand on the shore of the sea.
For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins.
We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs,
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we fear you and we pray to you.
Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 25:4-5AB, 6 AND 7BC, 8-9

R. (6a) Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Verse Before The Gospel – JL 2:12-13

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart;
for I am gracious and merciful.

Gospel – MT 18:21-35

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

Forgiving and Being Forgiven

The servant fell down, did him homage, and said, “Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.” Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. Matthew 18:26-27

This is a story about giving and also receiving forgiveness. Interestingly, it’s often easier to forgive than it is to ask forgiveness. Sincerely asking for forgiveness requires that you honestly acknowledge your sin, which is hard to do. It’s hard to take responsibility for what we have done wrong.

In this parable, the man asking patience with his debt appears to be sincere. He “fell down” before his master asking for mercy and patience. And the master responded with mercy by forgiving him the entire debt which was more than the servant had even requested.

But was the servant truly sincere or was he just a good actor? It seems that he was a good actor because as soon as he was forgiven this huge debt, he ran into someone else who actually owed him money and instead of showing the same forgiveness he was shown, “He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’”

Forgiveness, if it is real, must affect everything about us. It is something that we must ask for, give, receive, and give again. Here are a few points for you to consider:

Can you honestly see your sin, experience sorrow for that sin, and say, “I’m sorry” to another?

When you are forgiven, what does that do to you? Does it have the effect of making you more merciful toward others?

Can you in turn offer the same level of forgiveness and mercy that you hope to receive from God and others?

If you cannot answer “Yes” to all of these questions then this story was written for you. It was written for you to help you grow more in the gifts of mercy and forgiveness. These are hard questions to face but they are essential questions to face if we want to be freed of the burdens of anger and resentment. Anger and resentment weigh heavily on us and God wants us freed of them.

Reflect, today, upon these questions above and prayerfully examine your actions. If you find any resistance to these questions, then focus on what strikes you, take it to prayer, and let God’s grace enter in to bring about a deeper conversion in that area of your life.

Lord, I do acknowledge my sin. But I acknowledge it in the light of Your abundant grace and mercy. As I receive that mercy in my life, please make me just as merciful toward others. Help me to offer forgiveness freely and fully, holding nothing back. Jesus, I trust in You.

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