"Forgive us our sins"

There is that striking response to Psalm 50 that is chanted at the mass on Friday after Ash Wednesday. It goes "A broken, humbled heart, O God, you will not spurn." Verses 18-19 of this psalm says simply, "For in sacrifice you take no delight, burnt offering from me you would refuse; my sacrifice, a contrite spirit ..." As we read in today's first reading from Daniel 3, this is all that is needed. A contrite soul is worth all the bulls and rams and fattened lambs that may be offered to God by the rich and powerful. This prayer includes a beautiful plea, "Do not disappoint us; treat us gently, as you yourself are gentle and very merciful." Maybe we need to trust more in the mercy, goodness and love of God. If we did, we would probably be more understanding towards and less judgmental of others. That is a lesson of the Gospel today from Matthew 18:21-35. To be truly grateful for the loving mercy of God is to be truly forgiving in our relationships with one another. As the Lord's Prayer says, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us". Let us be gentle and forgiving towards one another and we will know the peace of those who believe and trust in the mercy of God.
Tom Rouse

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