Living out our Covenant – 2
“Good and upright is the Lord”
Today’s readings: Dn 3:25-43; Ps 25:4-9; Mt 18:21-35
Whenever we experience affliction due to our sin, the prayer of Azariah should be our prayer as well. “For your name’s sake, do not deliver us up forever, or make void your covenant. Do not take away your mercy from us” (Dn 3:34-35a). Our covenant with God is important to Him. If only we are willing to live out our covenant, then we can expect God’s mercy and deliverance.
We start with recognizing that we have sinned. “For we have sinned and transgressed by departing from you, and we have done every kind of evil. Your commandments we have not heeded or observed, nor have we done as you ordered us for our good.” (Dn 3:29-31). Then we recognize the justness of God’s allowing us to be punished whenever we sin. “For you are just in all you have done; all your deeds are faultless, all your ways right, and all your judgments proper. ….. By a proper judgment you have done all this because of our sins” (Dn 3:27-28). Then we humble ourselves and repent. “But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received” (Dn 3:39). Then we resolve to obey God totally “as we follow (Him) unreservedly” (Dn 3:40). “And now we follow you with our whole heart” (Dn 3:41a). And finally we trust in God, knowing that when we do so, that “those who trust in (Him) cannot be put to shame” (Dn 3:40).
Even when we sin, if we humble ourselves and strive to live out our covenant, then God will be merciful. “Good and upright is the Lord, who shows sinners the way, guides the humble rightly, and teaches the humble the way. All the paths of the Lord are faithful love toward those who honor the covenant demands.” (Ps 25:8-10).
In turn, in receiving God’s mercy, there is one important thing we need to do. God forgives us our sins; we in turn should be willing to forgive those who sin against us. The parable of the unforgiving servant is instructive (Mt 18:23-35). The king forgave his servant a huge debt of ten thousand talents, while the servant in turn would not forgive another servant’s comparatively much smaller debt of a hundred denarii. The difference between the two debts is enormous. When we sin against a holy, loving and perfect God, that is an enormous transgression. Compared to our sin against God, any offense against us will be relatively minor. But God is willing to forgive us. Having received God’s forgiveness, then we should be very willing to forgive others. In fact, we are called to forgive a limitless number of times (Mt 18:21-22). If we are unwilling, then we cannot experience the forgiveness of God (Mt 18:34-35).
We are to walk in the ways of God, in accordance with our covenant. God forgives us, we need to forgive others. If we love God, we are to love our neighbor. If we trust in God, we will never be put to shame.
Reflection/action: Consider how others have “sinned” against you. Will you forgive them?
Prayer: “Make known to me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior. For you I wait all the long day, because of your goodness, Lord. Remember your compassion and love, O Lord; for they are ages old. Remember no more the sins of my youth; remember me only in light of your love.” (Ps 25:4-7). “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.” (Dn 3:41-43). Amen.
God bless you.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)