Reflections

Monday in the 2nd Week of Lent, March 1, 2021

The Sinner Seeks Forgiveness
Introduction
Acknowledging sin, being sorry for it and seeking forgiveness is a reality that can only exist where there is genuine friendship and the awareness that this friendship has been hurt or even destroyed. Without friendship with God and with people, sin remains only a thing to be wiped off, sorrow is little more than a superficial regretting of something that should not have happened, and forgiveness is erasing the past. Sin, sorrow, pardon are to be seen in the light of the covenant relationship with a merciful God, who loved us first, and with our neighbour, with whom we are taken up in this union of life and love with God.
 
Opening Prayer
Just and holy God,
our loving Father,
you offered us your hand in friendship
and you sent us your Son Jesus
to go with us the road
of obedience and loyalty.
God, we often hurt this friendship,
we act as if we were not your sons and daughters.
See the look of shame on our faces.
Forgive us, for we count on you.
Accept our thanks
for continuing to take us as we are
and loving us notwithstanding our sins.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord. Amen!
 
1 Reading: Daniel 9:4B-10
“Lord, great and awesome God, you who keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you and observe your commandments! We have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws. We have not obeyed your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers, and all the people of the land. Justice, O Lord, is on your side; we are shamefaced even to this day: we, the men of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem, and all Israel, near and far, in all the countries to which you have scattered them because of their treachery toward you. O LORD, we are shamefaced, like our kings, our princes, and our fathers, for having sinned against you. But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness! Yet we rebelled against you and paid no heed to your command, O LORD, our God, to live by the law you gave us through your servants the prophets.”
 
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 79:8, 9, 11 AND 13
R. (cf. 103:10a) Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
 
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low. R.
 
Help us, O God our saviour,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake. R.
 
Let the prisoners’ sighing come before you;
with your great power free those doomed to death.
Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
through all generations we will declare your praise. R.
 
Gospel Acclamation: John 6:63C, 68C
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!
 
Gospel: Luke 6:36-38
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
 
Intercessions
• That each of us may have the courage to say, “Sorry, I am wrong, forgive me,” not only to God when we have sinned but also to people we have hurt, we pray:
• That we may never gloss over any evil but voice our disapproval without condemning the wrongdoer, we pray:
• That we may not pay back evil with evil but listen to the Spirit who wants us to pay back evil with good, we pray:
 
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God, in this Eucharist
your Son Jesus comes among us
to bring us your pardon and peace.
Remind us of what he went through for us,
that we may be converted to you
and be your holy people,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
 
Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
your forgiving love is without measure.
May our hearts become as large as yours,
that we too may learn to forgive one another,
and stop from judging and condemning.
May we too take people as they are
and continue offering our friendship
even when it is abused,
by the strength of him
who has given himself to us in this Eucharist,
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!
 
Blessing
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Words to remember and to practice, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the holy Spirit. Amen!
 
Commentary
Imagine God’s mercy as a blank cash cheque with your name written on it and the account never runs out of cash. The more of God’s mercy you share with others, the more mercy will be shared with you. It is up to you decide how much you want to draw with the cheque.
Pope Francis says: “Loving our enemies, those who persecute us and make us suffer, is difficult, it is not even a “good business”, or at least it is not the logic of the world. However, it is the path that Jesus travelled to conquer the grace that makes us rich ”.
The famous cliché of ‘glass half empty’ or ‘glass half full’ is directly applicable for today’s Gospel. For the one who regards the Gospel as new set of commandments – it is all about rules and regulations: Be merciful, Stop judging; stop condemning, forgive and give. There you see the glass half empty. And the modern man do not appreciate someone commands him to do things. But the gospel does not stop with regulations. On the other hand it is a set of promises. These promises are as attractive as a blank cash cheque provided we accept the project of life that Jesus proposes. Here is what the blank cheque offers: You will not be judged; nor will you be condemned; you will be forgiven of your sins and God will bless you with unlimited fortunes!
How can we operate this account? The Word of God says, start by forgiving others. Are there people who annoy you? Be merciful by practicing patience with them. Can I think of someone who is lonely or hurt? Can I spare some time to talk to them and to be with them? How often do I share the workload with my parents or spouse or siblings at home and be merciful by helping them? Mercy is a gift God gives us to share with others. Share it today and your reward will be great! Jesus, help me be merciful today.

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