First reading: Ecclesiasticus 27:30, 28:7.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 102(103):1-4, 9-12.
Second reading: Romans 14:7-9.
Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35.
Link to readings.
Our faith is based on a living covenant with the God of compassion and love. Christ invites us to be drawn deeper into the flow of this eternal covenant of love.
The first reading from the book of Ecclesiasticus urges us to let go of anger, hate and resentment. True forgiveness from our heart will set us free from these destructive urges.
Today's psalm is a song of thanks and celebration of God's healing love. God crowns us with a compassionate love that liberates us from fear and guilt.
St Paul, in his letter to the Romans (second reading), teaches us that as Christians, the life we live has a profound impact on others. We belong to the Lord both in life and in death.
The challenging parable on forgiveness in today's Gospel reminds us that God has an immense capacity to forgive us our sins. It is only if we choose not to forgive that we will cut ourselves off from the flow of compassion and love that comes from God.
In this coming week, let us pray for each other, that we might have the grace to be set free from anything that holds us back from fully embracing God's forgiveness.
Psalm 102 (103)
I prepare to pray by allowing myself to become still.
Perhaps I follow the rhythm of my breathing... the breath that gives me life and fills my being.
I begin the psalm by slowly reading and repeating the response with each in-breath I take, allowing these words to fill my mind: The Lord is compassion and love.
With tender care, I slowly read the rest of the psalm, pausing on a word or phrase to which I feel drawn.
This might bring to mind an image, emotion or memory.
I spend time with that moment, sharing my thoughts with God.
Perhaps I return again and again to the words of the response, The Lord is compassion and love, or to other phrases from the psalm. I pray these words like a mantra,
bringing me back to the Lord when my mind wanders.
When I feel ready, I thank God in my own words for the blessings in my life. I bring my time of prayer to a close, saying Glory be to the Father...
Matthew 18: 21-35
I read the Gospel through slowly.
How does this teaching on forgiveness make me feel? What questions does it stir in me?
Are there times when I have struggled to forgive others?
Has someone found it hard to forgive me? I talk to God about this.
I read the Gospel again, and this time I imagine seeing Peter and Jesus talking like close friends. What do I notice?
Why does Jesus put so much importance on forgiveness? How important is forgiveness and compassion in my life?
I talk to Jesus as I would to a close friend about this parable. I listen to what Jesus says to me. In time I finish my prayer, saying Our Father...
Prepared by St Beuno's Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham