Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Opening sentence and prayer:
At night my soul longs for You; I watch for You at daybreak.
Do not withdraw Your grace from me, Lord: by it alone I can give myself wholly to Your service and receive Your help in my every need. Through my Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
A Reading from the Old Testament: Daniel 3:25 / 34-43 (NJB)
“Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”
Azariah stood in the heart of the fire, praying aloud thus:
Do not abandon us for ever, for the sake of your name; do not repudiate your covenant, do not withdraw your favour from us, for the sake of Abraham, your friend, of Isaac, your servant, and of Israel, your holy one, to whom you promised to make their descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the grains of sand on the seashore.
Lord, we have become the least of all nations, we are put to shame today throughout the world, because of our sins. We now have no leader, no prophet, no prince, no burnt offering, no sacrifice, no oblation, no incense, no place where we can make offerings to you and win your favour. But may the contrite soul, the humbled spirit, be as acceptable to you as burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, as thousands of fat lambs: such let our sacrifice be to you today, and may it please you that we follow you whole-heartedly, since those who trust in you will not be shamed.
And now we put our whole heart into following you, into fearing you and seeking your face once more. Do not abandon us to shame but treat us in accordance with your gentleness, in accordance with the greatness of your mercy. Rescue us in accordance with your wonderful deeds and win fresh glory for your name, O Lord.
Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful. (Joel 2:12,13)
A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 18:21-35 (NLT)
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
“Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold — along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned — to pay the debt.
“But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.
“But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.
“His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.
“When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
“That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
Grace and truth shall mark the way where the Lord His own will lead, if His word they still obey and His testimonies heed.
For Thy Name’s sake hear Thou me, for Thy mercy, Lord, I wait; pardon my iniquity, for my sin is very great.
He who walks in godly fear in the path of truth shall go; peace shall be his portion here, and his sons all good shall know.
They that fear and love the Lord shall Jehovah’s friendship know; He will grace to them accord, and His faithful covenant show.
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen