Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 08.03.2022

ISAIAH 55: 10 – 11

Thus says the Lord: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I intend, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

The Word of the Lord

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 34: 4 – 7, 16 – 19 (R.) 18b

R/. The Lord rescues them in all their distress.

Glorify the Lord with me;
together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
from all my terrors he set me free. R/.

Look towards him and be radiant;
let your faces not be abashed.
This lowly one called; the Lord heard,
And rescued him from all his distress. R/.

The Lord turns his eyes to the just,
and his ears are open to their cry.
The Lord turns his face against the wicked
to destroy their remembrance from the earth. R/.

When the just cry out, the Lord hears,
and rescues them in all their distress.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted;
those whose spirit is crushed he will save. R/.

VERSE BEFORE THE GOSPEL
Matthew 4: 4b.

Glory and praise to you, O Christ. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Glory and praise to you, O Christ.

GOSPEL
MATTHEW 6: 7 – 15

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “In praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: 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. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

The Gospel of the Lord.
REFLECTION: Forgiving Others and Being Forgiven
March 8, 2022

“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.

PRAYER:
My forgiving 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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