Psalm 25: 4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9“…Remember your mercies O Lord…”
Matthew 18: 21 -35 “…You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire dept because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?…”
Blessed Ludovico of Casoria (1814 – 1885) born in Casoria, near Naples; he was a cabinet maker before he entered the Friars Minor where he was ordained in 1837. He started out teaching chemistry, physics and mathematics to the younger members of the province. But, having a mystical experience in 1847 he spent much of the rest of his life working with the poor, establishing schools and dispensaries for them, and for which he later started two religious communities, the Gray Brothers and the Gray Sisters of St. Elizabeth to run these operations that served the poor.
Here in this third week of Lent we have this one reading from Daniel, even though Daniel himself is not in today’s story. Azariah’s (or Abednego as he is called earlier) is calling out to the Lord. He’s been sent with two other Jewish men to be burned alive in a fiery furnace, because they wouldn’t fall down and worship the huge golden statue built by the King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. An angel of the Lord keeps the flames from touching the men, and we come upon this story at this point. Without this background, it is very easy to join Azariah in his prayer, and make it our own today. He calls out to God saying “For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins.” Everywhere we look today, people are suffering. With communication moving our stories instantaneously around the world, we feel each others pain, almost in the moment. And so we join Azariah as he prays “So let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly’ for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame. And now we follow you with our whole heart, we fear you and we pray to you.” God, we place our Trust in You, help us to overcome today’s challenges, which grow in intensity each day. Help our world leaders as they make decisions for all of us, give them wisdom and strength, may they call upon you for endurance.
In the Gospel today Jesus’ wisdom teaching asks us to forgive those who sin against us, not just seven times, but rather seventy-seven times. He relates the story of the man, whose debt is forgiven by the king. Rather than do the same, the man goes out and attempts to collect what others owe him. His inability to show leniency/forgiveness towards those who owed him money causes the king to call him back and reverse his favorable decision. Jesus says “so shall the Heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”
Let us pray the Our Father today and pay particular attention when we say “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” Amen.
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook