Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Gospel Reflection

March 05, 2013
Tuesday – Year of Faith – Lenten Seasons
by Rev. Fr. Juancho "Choy" Ramos (Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, Parish of Sta. Cruz, Manila)
5:30PM Mass, Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Peace (EDSA Shrine)
Reading 1 Dn 3:25, 34-43

Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:

“For your name’s sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever, or make void your covenant. Do not take away your mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham, your beloved, Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one, To whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven, or the sand on the shore of the sea. For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins. We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader, no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense, no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you. But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, or thousands of fat lambs, So let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly; for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame. And now we follow you with our whole heart, we fear you 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.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 25:4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9

R. (6a) Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Gospel Mt 18:21-35

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’ Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”


Forgiveness is a work of compassion, and it is a gift from God. It is not the work of every human being to forgive. It is the work of God present within us. 

When God created us, He created us according to His own image and likeness. Therefore, His spirit is within us. In the letter of Paul, he testified that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that moves us. When we received the Sacrament of Baptism, and the minister said, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit", we were gifted with God's Spirit. Therefore, if we are going to look at the perspective of our own faith, forgiveness is truly the work of God truly present in us. 

To forgive is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. If we do not forgive, then we are allowing the work of the evil spirit. When we forgive, the fruit is peace, harmony, love and a good relationship. But if we do not forgive, the fruit is definitely anger, hate, conflict and misunderstanding. 

That is why the Lord is telling us in our Gospel to forgive, not only seven times, but seventy-seven times. This means that forgiveness should be unending. If we adopt that, we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. 

For this Lenten season, let us pray that we may continue to strive to deepen our own faith relationship with God. Let us allow the work of the Holy Spirit to make us fully alive, that we may continue to forgive our brothers and sisters. Often, we experience hurts and pains because of our unforgiving heart. Let us, therefore, make an effort to let the Holy Spirit work in us, so that as we live the life of a Christian, we can be truly connected to the source of our own being, and that is our God. 

Let us take time to make a silent prayer and think of those people whom we find hard to forgive, and those who we need to ask for forgiveness. Let us make the work of Jesus truly alive within us, so that we can sincerely tell our brother or sister, "I am sorry for the many times that I failed you, and for the many times that I hurt you." 

We can also do it to ourselves. Oftentimes, the best enemy we have is our own self. Kung minsan, nahihirapan nating matanggap ang pagkukulang ng iba, at pati ang ating pagkukulang, dahil mataas ang ating pagtingin sa ating sarili. Sana, sa pagkakataong ito, matanggap natin ang ating kahinaan, at hayaan nating ang biyaya ng Panginoon ang magbigay sa atin ng lakas upang tayo ay matutong magpatawad.