TUESDAY, THIRD WEEK OF LENT
Reading 1: Dan 3:25, 34-43 We share Azariah’s poignant prayer for forgiveness, following upon the admission of guilt for having forsaken the Lord God.
Gospel: Mt 18:21-35 With the parable of the unforgiving servant, Jesus drives home the lesson that we must forgive one another again and again.
MEETING GOD IN OUR ADVERSITIES
Adversities bring us closer to God than prosperity. This is a paradox, yet an undeniable fact. Prosperity often considered a blessing of the Lord, should naturally have been the opportunity to draw one closer to God. However, once prosperity knocks on the door of a person, he tends to forget God. On the other hand, adversities can become moments of grace.
In the first reading Azariah testifies to this: “May the contrite heart and humbled spirit be as acceptable to you as holocausts of rams and bullocks and as thousands of fattened lambs…” They had no altar, no oblation, no incense and not even a place to offer a sacrifice. At that moment, they realize how sweet a sacrifice is the offering of a contrite heart.
Our churches have best altars and aromatic incenses to aid our worship, and we seek to make the best presentation of our religious rituals and practices. But how many times do we think of offering the sacrifice of a contrite heart and a humble spirit? Or do we more often than not, find ourselves among those whom Isaiah speaks of: “This people draw near with their mouth and honour me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men.” (Is 29:13)
In such times as these like the pandemic, adversities serve to open our eyes and stir our conscience. For, they strike at the very things that occupy our focus – the prosperity before us. The gospel reveals a deeper truth. If our offering of a contrite heart flows from a genuine recognition of the truth of our unworthiness before God and our need for his mercy, then it should also lead to a realization of our obligation to show mercy as well. Because, the Lord who offered himself on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, desires that we join him in his offering, by embracing the sacrifice that comes with forgiving others.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 25: 4-9 Remember your compassion, Lord.
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