Tuesday 14 March 2023

Today is Tuesday the 14th of March, in the third week of Lent.

Juliano Ravanello sings the Kyrie: Kyrie eleison; Christe eleison: Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy. These imploring words, which have been sung for centuries, are a reminder of the inexhaustible mercy of God, of God’s unfailing compassion and forgiveness. As I listen, I might think for a moment about my need for that forgiveness, and the need, too, for me to show that same forgiveness to others.

Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Matthew.

Matt 18:21-22

Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

Peter probably thinks he’s being generous in suggesting forgiving someone seven times. Jesus asks him for the impossible - to forgive seventy times seven. Imagine Peter’s facial expression for a moment when he hears this instruction…

We don’t know the tone of voice Jesus uses, or his facial expression… how do you imagine it?

Forgiveness doesn’t always happen overnight…what is your experience of forgiving others?

Perhaps you have experience of forgiving someone again and again. Is it as exhausting as it sounds? Or is there a sense of being given what you need to do that?

We hear of some people - not many - victims of terrible crimes who speak about forgiving their perpetrators. How do you feel when you hear their account of forgiveness? And what is it about them that strikes us? The wounds are still very much there, but in forgiving, the victims seem to be tasting something new, accessing something deep inside themselves perhaps.

Can you think of someone who has forgiven you for something? How did that feel?

St Ignatius encourages us to stand at the Cross and speak with the Lord. You might like to take some time doing this, perhaps telling the Lord how hard you find it to forgive. Or you could thank him for forgiving you…

How do you feel reflecting on the way the Lord forgives you? What does it teach you about God’s mercy?

In these closing moments, speak with the Lord about forgiveness, about whatever has stirred in you.

You have given all to me,
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is Yours, do with it what you will.
Give me only Your love and Your grace,
That is enough for me.

Tuesday, 14 March
3rd week of Lent
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