March 22, 2022
Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we meet Azariah of Fiery Furnace – a great champion of faith ready to bolster ours in our own uncertain times.
In our reading from the Book of Daniel, Azariah (later Abednego) prays a moving prayer of urgency, repentance, supplication, and trust:
And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we hold you in awe and we pray to you.
Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord.
This prayer rang very true for me today, as I prayed for God’s mercy and miracles all over our suffering earth, especially in Ukraine.
And then we move to our Gospel, which brings before us the always thorny issue of forgiveness. Forgiveness is easy when it is something we seek for ourselves. Yes, we may have done something wrong. But we see the issue from inside our own heart. We know we didn’t mean it, made a mistake, or didn’t fully understand the harm we caused. We know we deserve forgiveness.
But what about the other guys — the ones who hurt us or someone we love? They meant it, didn’t they!!!! Their treachery was no mistake. They understood all along the harm they would cause! How could we ever forgive them?
Isn’t that the way the tapes sometimes run in our heads when we are hurt by another, or when we witness such hurt?
In our Gospel, Jesus offers us the character of the forgiving master who represents our Creator. The parable teaches that God accepts and heals our weakness – God forgives. But once forgiven, we are called to be like God – forgiving others and desiring their healing.
Does this mean we ignore or forget the pain forced on others or ourselves? I don’t think so. It means that we use it as a catalyst to remember how in need of grace we and all our sisters and brothers are as we learn to live in love.
Poetry: As we pray with such awareness, how appropriate today’s psalm-poem is:
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;Psalm 25:4-9
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus showing sinners the way.
God guides the humble to justice,
and teaches the humble God’s way.
Music: Forgiveness – Matthew West