Today’s readings can be really humbling when you think about it. Could I withstand the test? Can I learn to be humble, ask for forgiveness, ask for his mercy. We can be so self righteous, so sure of ourselves.
In the first reading we hear a familiar story. We all know the story of Shadrack, Meshack, and Abed-nego, King Nebuchadnezzar had made a golden idol and commanded everyone to honor it. All did but these 3, the king was so outraged he had them thrown in the blazing furnace. Rather than die in the fire they prayed and were saved by our God. Asking that God not let them be put to shame but deal with them with kindness and great mercy. Deliver them by his wonders and bring glory to his name. How much faith does that take? Be faced with imminent death but have the faith that God would save them and Glorify his name. It affected the King so strongly he ordered everyone to never say anything against their God. How many times have all of us faced challenges and not know how things would turn out. Did we have the faith to turn to God and say, “God you know all and see all, please have mercy on me a sinner and help me”. Are we contrite when we ask God for help? I know many times I just ask for help, maybe if I would take more time to realize my faults and ask for God’s forgiveness and mercy maybe I would find the answers quicker.
Our Gospel teaches us to have unending forgiveness for each other, Peter asked if our brother sins against us how often must we forgive them. Seven times? Our Lord answered him not seven times but seventy-seven times. Other writers used the term seventy times seven times, in other words continued unending forgiveness. Think about that, we must NEVER hold a grudge against anyone. Everyone deserves forgiveness without exception. That can be a difficult thing to do. How many of us have had differences no matter how small, yet did we forgive and forget EVERYTIME? I am not sure I did, I am not even sure I can remember them all but it will cause me to think about it now. How many times have we felt ill will to someone at work, in politics, in our family. Have we asked their forgiveness? If done to us have we forgiven them?
Christ died on the cross to give us hope for forgiveness, his “Amazing Grace” given for all mankind. Have I thanked him enough for that? I need to pray to God and thank him for his mercy and forgiveness seventy-seven times. I need to ask all who read this for the same, if I have even slightly caused you harm, please forgive me, seventy times seven times…..
May God forgive us grant us his mercy and Bless all of us!