Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 22.06.2023
2ND CORINTHIANS 11: 1 – 11
Brethren: I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough. I think that I am not in the least inferior to these superlative apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not in knowledge; in every way we have made this plain to you in all things. Did I commit a sin in abasing myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God’s gospel without cost to you? I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. And when I was with you and was in want, I did not burden any one, for my needs were supplied by the brethren who came from Macedonia. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way. As the truth of Christ is in me, this boast of mine shall not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 111: 1b – 2, 3 – 4, 7 – 8 (R.) 7a
R/. The Lord’s handiwork is justice and truth.
I will praise the Lord with all my heart,
in the meeting of the just and the assembly.
Great are the works of the Lord,
to be pondered by all who delight in them. R/.
Majestic and glorious his work;
his justice stands firm forever.
He has given us a memorial of his wonders.
The Lord is gracious and merciful. R/.
His handiwork is justice and truth;
his precepts are all of them sure,
standing firm forever and ever,
wrought in uprightness and truth. R/.
- GOSPEL ACCLAMATION*
Romans 8: 15bc
You have received the spirit of sonship; in him we cry, “Abba! Father!”
“Pray then like this.”
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.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Forgiving Others
June 22, 2023
“If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:14–15)
It’s truly amazing how often our Lord exhorts us to forgive. Much of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, from which we have been reading all week, continually calls us to offer mercy and forgiveness to others. And in the passage above from the end of today’s Gospel, Jesus offers us the consequences of not heeding His exhortations.
This passage is a sort of addendum to the “Our Father” prayer which immediately precedes it. The Our Father prayer gives us seven petitions, one of them being “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It’s interesting to note that as soon as Jesus taught us this prayer with its seven petitions, He then re-emphasised one of those petitions by stating it again as is seen in the passage quoted above. This added emphasis should assure us of the seriousness of this petition.
At first, Jesus simply tells us to pray for forgiveness “as we forgive.” But He then makes it clear that if we fail to do so, we will not be forgiven ourselves. This should highly motivate us to make every effort possible to completely forgive others from the deepest depths of our hearts.
Who do you need to forgive? Forgiveness can be a confusing endeavor at times. The act of forgiveness gets confusing when our feelings do not reflect the choice we make in our will. It is a common experience that when we make the interior choice to forgive another, we still feel anger toward them. But these disordered feelings should not deter us nor should we allow them to cause doubt in what we need to do. Forgiveness is first an act of the will. It’s a prayerful choice to say to another that you do not hold their sin against them. Forgiveness does not pretend that no sin was committed. On the contrary, if there were no sin committed, then there would be no need for forgiveness. So the very act of forgiving is also an acknowledgment of the sin that needs to be forgiven.
When you make the choice to forgive another, and if your feelings do not immediately follow after, keep forgiving them in your heart. Pray for them. Try to change the way you think about them. Do not dwell upon the hurt that they have inflicted. Think, instead, about their dignity as a person, the love God has for them and the love you must continue to foster for them. Forgive, forgive and forgive again. Never stop and never tire of this act of mercy. If you do this, you may even discover that your feelings and passions eventually align with the choice you have made.
Reflect, today, upon any lingering feelings of anger you experience. Address those feelings by the free and total choice to forgive the person with whom you are angry. Do so now, later today, tomorrow and on and on. Go on the offensive against anger and bitterness by overwhelming it with your personal act of forgiveness and you will find that God will begin to free you of the heavy burden that a lack of forgiveness imposes.
My forgiving Lord, You offer the perfection of forgiveness to me and call me to do the same toward others. I pray for Your forgiveness in my life. I am sorry for my sin and beg for Your mercy. In exchange for this holy gift, I pledge to You today to forgive everyone who has sinned against me. I especially forgive those with whom I remain angry. Free me from this anger, dear Lord, so that I may reap the full benefits of Your mercy in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.