It is 21st March 2017. The readings are from Daniel 3:25, 34-43; and the Gospel from Matthew 18:21-35. The first reading is the prayer of Azariah pleading for God’s mercy on God’s people. In difficult moments of our lives, we need to pray for those who are suffering amidst the cruel and fierce furnace of lives. Azariah did not pray for himself but he reminded God about the sufferings of people. God allows us to go through a situation to bring so many others to God through our suffering. Our suffering needs to bring us closer to God rather not to alienate and despise God. The responsorial Psalm prays, “Remember your mercy, Lord.” (Ps.24:6). The Gospel strongly teaches us to forgive others just because we are already enjoying the benefits of God’s forgiveness. As many times the other person turns to us for forgiveness in sincerity and humility, so long we must forgive. Good place to start forgiving is to begin from our own selves. God not only expects but demands us to forgive others. Uttering sorry verbally is not enough for the pain we have caused and it needs to be seen in our actions. Our forgiveness needs to be without limit, following the example of God. We all need to have the spirit of forgiveness as radical as possible in all our relationship with the ones who offend us constantly. We cannot go on living mercilessly treating others and holding grudges against the others when God does not hold an account of our offences and swiftly forgives us. What others owe to us is much less in terms of quantity than what we truly indebted to God. One of the scripture scholars rightly puts it in the following lines: “We have been forgiven a debt which is beyond all paying–for the sin of human beings brought about the death of God’s own Son–and, if that is so, we must forgive others as God has forgiven us, or we can hope to find no mercy.” May we be swift to forgive even before others ask for forgiveness and be patient with others when others take time to serve an apology to us. “And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Mt.18:35). May you be blessed with peace and health.

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