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Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
Readings: Dn 3:25, 34-43; PS 25:4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9; Mt 18:21-35
Notes: OK a twist on a commercial word: PayPal. Continue our prayers for the liberation of Ukraine from this evil of war. They are unjustly condemned. Let us help them find prayer.

(reminder: these reflections are marginally helpful unless one reads the readings of the day. It is the sacred scripture that make this midrash of any additive value. You can find the daily reading calendar here: https://bible.usccb.org/readings/calendar)

From the burning flames, a plea for divine intervention.

It was a few days ago that we read about Jeremiah and those conspiring to put him to death. https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2022/03/16/contriving-a-plot/

Jeremiah asked the Lord for deliverance and justice (revenge in a less charitable reading of it). But he stopped short and said instead “in the time of your anger“.

The Martyrdom of a Mother and Her Seven Sons (2nd Maccabees) brings us the mother: Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother who, seeing her seven sons perish in a single day, bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.

The last son, obedient to God and his mother, said to Antiochus: But you, who have contrived every kind of evil for the Hebrews, will not escape the hands of God.

  • Jeremiah – presumed to be martyred later.
  • Martyrdom of a Mother and Her Seven Sons – martyred.
  • Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael – saved from the flames.

All lives put to the test.
All trusting in the Lord even unto death.
All, in varying degrees, putting the question of vengeance to the Lord and his decision.
All a part of a progressive elaboration of divine mercy.

Pointing us toward the final answer, mercy in Jesus.

Jesus, moves us to forgive not seven times, but every time.
As he did on the cross.

This is impossible without prayer.
Prayer for ourselves and our tormentors (or at the least ignoring the tormentor).

51 Then these three in the furnace with one voice sang, glorifying and blessing God.

This song, we sing in the LOTH, Week 1, Sunday mornings.
The Canticle of Daniel 3: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/daniel/3?52

First reading
I can image in Ukraine this prayer of Azariah is most heartfelt.

But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs,
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we fear you and we pray to you.
Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your wonders,
and bring glory to your name, O Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Verse Before the Gospel
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart;
for I am gracious and merciful.

Gospel Portion
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“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.

Mercy, even for “them“.

There are a lot of ‘them” in this world.

We need an Us within us.

Pray or Pay, Pal.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

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