First reading Daniel 3:25,34-43

Let our sacrifice to you today be a contrite soul and humbled spirit

Azariah stood in the heart of the fire, and he began to pray:
 
Oh! Do not abandon us for ever,
for the sake of your name;
do not repudiate your covenant,
do not withdraw your favour from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your friend,
of Isaac your servant,
and of Israel your holy one,
to whom you promised descendants as countless as the stars of heaven
and as the grains of sand on the seashore.
Lord, now we are the least of all the nations,
now we are despised throughout the world, today, because of our sins.
We have at this time no leader, no prophet, no prince,
no holocaust, no sacrifice, no oblation, no incense,
no place where we can offer you the first-fruits
and win your favour.
But may the contrite soul, the humbled spirit be as acceptable to you
as holocausts of rams and bullocks,
as thousands of fattened lambs:
such let our sacrifice be to you today,
and may it be your will that we follow you wholeheartedly,
since those who put their trust in you will not be disappointed.
And now we put our whole heart into following you,
into fearing you and seeking your face once more.
Do not disappoint us;
treat us gently, as you yourself are gentle
and very merciful.
Grant us deliverance worthy of your wonderful deeds,
let your name win glory, Lord.
 

Responsorial Psalm 24(25):4-6,7a-9

Remember your mercy, Lord.
 
Lord, make me know your ways.
  Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
  for you are God my saviour.
 
Remember your mercy, Lord.
 
In you I hope all day long
  because of your goodness, O Lord.
Remember your mercy, Lord,
  and the love you have shown from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth.
  In your love remember me.
 
Remember your mercy, Lord.
 
The Lord is good and upright.
  He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path,
  He teaches his way to the poor.
 
Remember your mercy, Lord.
 

Gospel Acclamation cf.Lk8:15

Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Blessed are those who,
with a noble and generous heart,
take the word of God to themselves
and yield a harvest through their perseverance.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
 

Or: Joel2:12-13

Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks –
come back to me with all your heart,
for I am all tenderness and compassion.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ!
 

Gospel Matthew 18:21-35

To be forgiven, you must forgive

Peter went up to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.
  ‘And so the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; but he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master’s feet. “Give me time” he said “and I will pay the whole sum.” And the servant’s master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt. Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him. “Pay what you owe me” he said. His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him, saying, “Give me time and I will pay you.” But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’
 
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To become forgiving people

Peter asked Jesus, “How often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?”. For Peter, forgiving someone seven times would be good enough. However, Jesus answered him, “Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times”, and by saying this, He was saying that there is no limit to forgiveness. Jesus then told a parable that speaks of God’s readiness to forgive. His forgiveness is born from  His mercy that looks at a person with eyes of love and never fails to give him/her another new chance, another new opportunity to change,  live, and love. In this time of Lent, Jesus invites us to be forgiving as God is forgiving.
 
“God’s forgiveness is what we all need, and it is the greatest sign of His mercy. A gift that every forgiven sinner is called upon to share with  every brother and sister he or she meets. It is beautiful to be forgiven, but you too, if you wish to be forgiven, forgive in turn. Forgive!” (Pope  Francis, March 2016).
 
Question for reflection:
What prevents me from putting forgiveness into practice?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.