Lent reflection for 9 March
“But may the contrite soul, the humble spirit be as acceptable to you…”
Today’s first reading presents us with a sincere voice, praying to God from the heart of the fire, that he will not abandon his broken people in their exile. It is echoed in the prayer made by the priest at the preparation of the gifts in the Mass: “With humble spirit and contrite hearts may we be accepted by you, O Lord.”
There is certainly an awareness of sin but it is balanced here by confidence in God’s gentleness and mercy. Contrast this to the forgiven debtor in today’s gospel reading. His heart has not been changed by the amazing generosity of his master. Instead, he unrelentingly pursues a tiny debt.
Each day we have the opportunity to break cycles of resentment and retaliation. We can choose to remember the debts that we have been forgiven and to resolve to forgive, to make peace and to work for reconciliation.
Fr. James Oyet, supported by CAFOD, works for peace in South Sudan, where civil war has cost thousands of lives. Leaders like him set up face-to-face meetings between opposing sides in safe settings, so they can talk to each other and try to find a way forward.
There is currently a peace deal in place, but progress towards its goals is painfully slow. “My hope is the last thing to die,” says Fr. James. “With international support we can turn a ‘bad deal’ – death and destruction – into a good one, where there is peace and reconstruction.”
Merciful God, you know our fears and failings. Accept our humble, contrite hearts and forgive us our sins. Turn our hearts toward you again and grant us the grace to forgive others as you have forgiven us through your son, Jesus. Amen.
Spend some time praying for peace today. Use our peace prayers to inspire you.