Reflection: 1st Tuesday of Lent

Mass: Tuesday, February 23, 2010
First Reading: Isaiah 55:10-11
Responsorial: Psalm 33:4-7,16-19
Gospel: Matthew 6:7-15

I encountered someone this weekend who takes exception to the last lines of today’s Gospel. In his mind, a God that is all loving and all forgiving would not hold us to human standards. An all loving God would forgive and forget, even if we don’t. He says that God forgives our short-comings, no questions asked.

So I thought about that for awhile.

And while it is true, that by the grace and mercy of God, our sins are forgiven as soon as we ask; how can we expect to benefit from God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance, if we ourselves remain hateful, conniving, and vengeful, and do not forgive those who hurt us?

Do the Gospel’s not also warn of the hypocrites who profess faith with their mouths, but do nothing of good works to demonstrate that faith to others?

It seems to me that God is not asking for perfection, he created us, and he knows the weakness of our human condition; but he also knows what we are capable of if we place ourselves in his hands. God knows that it is hard for us to forgive others, hard to trust them again, and hard to forget the pain we felt. He is simply asking that we trust Him enough to try.

Perhaps God is saying to us “give me the pain, the hurt, and the distrust, and I will show you how to love, heal, accept, and forgive. I will give that to you, so you can give it to others. I can only show you true love and forgiveness if you are willing to pass my love on to others.”

In the Gospel Today Jesus teaches us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Could this be a reminder that as people of God, we are called to love as God does? We ask God’s forgiveness, mercy, and love, and He grants it to us. Then we must take this “daily bread” and use it the way God does; to love, forgive, and accept unconditionally.

Those last lines may not be an admonishment so much as a reminder that God’s forgiveness is an opportunity. An opportunity to let God to show us how to spread his love, grace, and mercy to those around us.

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