DN 3: 25, 34-43
PS 25: 4-5 AB, 6 AND 7 BC, 8-9
MT 18: 21-35
“For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received;”
I began this Lenten season determined to find something that I could offer up every day as a way for me to grow closer to Christ. After all, this is the central purpose of Lent isn’t it? Give something up or add on a small sacrifice that will constantly remind us over the course of these 40 days that we are extremely blessed, but more importantly that these blessings come from the ultimate sacrifice of our beloved Savior. However, as we continue through this Lenten season, we may be struggling to keep our Lenten resolutions. We began the Lenten season wholeheartedly determined to uphold them, but now it seems almost every day is a constant temptation to break our promises. In fact, it’s likely that we have broken them at least once already. We should not punish ourselves for these shortcomings, this is the point of Lent. We see in today’s readings that we fail to uphold these resolutions because of our sins; and while there is nothing we can do to prevent this, there is something we can to do heal it. We are reminded that despite our sins, God has given us the opportunity for redemption if we return to Him “with contrite heart and humble spirit.” This is the beauty of Lent, it is a time of struggle, but more importantly a time for preparation. As we continue to walk through this Lenten season, we reflect on our struggles and prepare our hearts for the salvation that was won for us through Jesus’ suffering and death. Personally, I don’t believe that I am deserving of this salvation, for every sin I commit is essentially a spiritual slap in the face of Jesus. How can I possibly deserve Jesus’ love if I continue to reject Him when I sin? In today’s Gospel, we get a glimpse into Jesus’ unconditional love.
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.”
Forgiveness. Forgiveness is one of the truest signs of Jesus’ love for us. Despite the fact that our sinful human nature causes us to repeatedly reject God’s love for us, He never holds it against us. We are forgiven “not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” As Lent continues, I will continue to reflect on this forgiveness and do my best not to take it for granted because it was bought for a price, the most valuable price ever paid, Jesus’ life. While I know that I will continue to struggle to perfectly maintain my Lenten sacrifices, I will always keep in mind that I am forgiven and I will continue to work on preparing my heart to accept Jesus’ salvation.
Greg Weissler is a senior Neuroscience major who will be attending SLU School of Medicine next year.