Monday of the Second Week of Lent
(Daniel 9:4b-10; Luke 6:36-38)
Last week Pope Francis held his annual Reconciliation Service with the priests of Rome. He told the priests something of which they were already aware but perhaps needed to hear again. Actually it is something of which all Catholics need to be reminded of continually. Francis said that priests must be continually “on guard against the temptation self-sufficiency and self-satisfaction.” This is the purpose of confession. We declare ourselves as sinners, which is to say we are not satisfied with our behavior. We likewise asks God’s mercy, which is to say we cannot live without forgiveness.
In today’s first reading Daniel makes similar claims for the Jewish population exiled in Babylon. He recognizes that the people have sinned terribly in varied ways. He also asks God’s forgiveness on their behalf. In the gospel Jesus says that people can count on forgiveness as long as they are willing to forgive.
We do not like to admit our faults. For this reason some people avoid confession, and others make excuses when they have done something wrong. These strategies take us from our final goal. It is wise to own our sins and ask God’s mercy. When we do so, we should find ourselves understanding of others and ready to forgive. Then we will be, as Jesus commands, “’merciful, just as (our) Father is merciful.’”