“With a contrite heart and a humble spirit may we be accepted.”
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel (Daniel 3:2.11-20)
In those days: Azariah stood and offered this prayer; in the midst of the fire he opened his mouth and said: “For your name’s sake do not give us up utterly, and do not break your covenant, and do not withdraw your mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham your beloved and for the sake of Isaac your servant and Israel your holy one, to whom you promised to make their descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the sand on the shore of the sea. For we, O Lord, have become fewer than any nation, and are brought low this day in all the world because of our sins. And at this time there is no prince, or prophet, or leader, no burnt offering, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, no place to make an offering before you or to find mercy. Yet with a contrite heart and a humble spirit may we be accepted, as though it were with burnt offerings of rams and bulls, and with tens of thousands of fat lambs; such may our sacrifice be in your sight this day, and may we wholly follow you, for there will be no shame for those who trust in you. And now with all our heart we follow you, we fear you and seek your face. Do not put us to shame, but deal with us in your forbearance and in your abundant mercy. Deliver us in accordance with your marvellous works, and give glory to your name, O Lord!”
The Word of the Lord
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 25:4-5ab, 6 and 7cd.8-9 (R. 6a)
R/. Remember your compassion, O Lord
O Lord, make me know your ways.
Teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth, and teach me;
For you are the God of my salvation. R/.
Remember your compassion, O Lord,
and your merciful love,
for they are from of old.
In your merciful love remember me,
Because of your goodness, O Lord. R/.
R/. Remember your compassion, O Lord.
Good and upright is the Lord;
he shows the way to sinners.
He guides the humble in right judgement;
To the humble he teaches his way. R/.
Gospel Acclamation Joel 2:12-13
Glory and praise to you, O Christ. Even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, for I am gracious and merciful. Glory and praise to you, O Christ
If you do not forgive your brother from your heart, the Father will not forgive you.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew18:21-35)
At that time: Peter came up and said to Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ “And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ “He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you? And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
The Gospel of the Lord
From the time of Cain and Abel to this day, man has always been wicked to his fellow man. If given the chance, man would destroy all life on earth. A man who owed his master a lot of money was forgiven of his debt but he turned out to be underserving of such mercy because he couldn’t also forgive his fellow servant who owed him much less.
As a rule of thumb, ALWAYS GIVE WHAT YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE. This is the only way to avoid ugly incidences. Never utter a word to a person that you wouldn’t like to hear being spoken to you. Never wish anything for someone that you do not pray to happen to you. Treat everyone you meet on a daily basis just as you wish God to treat you.
Take it that you are the God other people are looking up to and you have the power to create your future by the way you treat the people who come in contact with you every day. What do you expect from God? Have you taken out time to examine the things you want God to do for you or how you expect God to behave when you offend him? Then begin today to treat your fellow human beings according to your expectations from God.
There is already enough wickedness and violence in this world; even violence being perpetrated in the name of religion. Let our Christianity reflect in our ability to love our fellow brothers and sisters just as Jesus Christ loved us; that even though we were sinners, even though we were at enmity with God, Christ gave up his life for our sake. Without this love, we dare not address ourselves as Christians anymore.
Our church-going must go beyond loud prayers for prosperity, it must go beyond all nights and crusades, it must go beyond miracle sessions and all that entertainment that goes on in the name of worshipping God. Let us begin to show our Christianity by forgiving one another. Let our Christianity reveal itself by our treatment of other people just as Christ treated humanity.