The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
St. Patrick, bishop

Scripture from today’s Liturgy of the Word:
Daniel 3:25, 34-43
Psalm 25:4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9
Matthew 18:21-35

A Reflection on today’s Sacred Scripture:

Should you not have pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you? (Matthew 18:33)

The parable of the merciless servant is about forgiveness and the human heart.

At first, the story is uplifting because we’re assured that there is no one, no matter how wicked, who can’t confidently hope for God’s forgiveness. But as the merciless servant learns, God’s forgiveness can never penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have hurt us — Jesus is strict about this.

Alone, we can’t do it. In our human weakness, we don’t have the power not to feel, or to forget an offense, so we must offer our hearts to Jesus, who forgave those who nailed Him to the Cross. It is there, “in the depths of the heart,” that everything is bound and loosed (see Catechism, Paragraph 2843), so we must ask the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with Jesus’ compassion, and to give us the gift of prayer which extends to the forgiveness of our enemies.

We receive this gift powerfully in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and when we engage in the devotion of the Stations of the Cross, which most parishes now offer throughout Lent. There, our prayer-lives become saturated with Christ’s blood when we become a part of His Passion and walk with Him in His heartbreaking journey to Calvary, from the moment He is condemned to death until He is taken from His Mother’s arms and laid in the tomb.

Once our own hearts are nailed to the hands and feet of Jesus in spirit, there’s nothing left for us to do but forgive.

– Elizabeth A. Tichvon | etichvon@comcast.net

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