Tuesday in the Third Week of Lent

by Denise Kelly

Psalm 25:3-10
Song of the Three Young Men 2-4, 11-20a
Matthew 18:21-35

“REMEMBER NOT THE SINS OF MY YOUTH.” (But how often shall I forgive my brother?) The combined lessons of the day left me with the following impressions:

We ask God to set up guidelines for us (e.g., “Lead me in thy truth,” “Teach me thy paths,” “Make me know thy ways,” etc.)

Daily we beg God’s forgiveness and remind him of his promises to deliver us in the time of need. (All this despite the fact that we systematically disregard the very guidelines we asked him for in the first place.)

We ask for (and secretly expect) carte blanche forgiveness for ourselves while carefully calculating and cataloging wrongs done to us by others. We are the children of God, and we often react like children — striking out blindly in fear/anger and avoiding responsibility for our actions by pointing a finger at someone else.

Peter asked Jesus: “How often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” We know the answer to that question by rote — this Lent let us learn it by heart: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”