Daniel 3:25,34-43

25 Then Azariah stood and offered this prayer; in the midst of the fire he opened his mouth and said: 34 For thy name’s sake do not give us up utterly, and do not break thy covenant, 35 and do not withdraw thy mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham thy beloved and for the sake of Isaac thy servant and Israel thy holy one,
36 to whom thou didst promise to make their descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the sand on the shore of the sea. 37 For we, O Lord, have become fewer than any nation, and are brought low this day in all the world because of our sins.
38 And at this time there is no prince, or prophet, or leader, no burnt offering, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, no place to make an offering before thee or to find mercy. 39 Yet with a contrite heart and a humble spirit may we be accepted, as though it were with burnt offerings of rams and bulls, and with tens of thousands of fat lambs;
40 such may our sacrifice be in thy sight this day, and may we wholly follow thee, for there will be no shame for those who trust in thee. 41 And now with all our heart we follow thee, we fear thee and seek thy face.
42 Do not put us to shame, but deal with us in thy forbearance and in thy abundant mercy.43 Deliver us in accordance with thy marvelous works, and give glory to thy name, O Lord! Let all who do harm to thy servants be put to shame;

Matthew 18:21-35

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents;
25 and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’
27 And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.28 But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’
29 So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’30 He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt.
31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.
32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me;
33 and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’34 And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt.35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”  


THE FIRST READING records a compassionate intercessory prayer offered by Azariah the Hebrew priest, for three valiant Isaeli men; Sidrach, Misach and Abdenago who were cast into a fire for refusing to worship a false god that king Nabuchodonosor had set up. 

THE GOSPEL READING: Peters question on the matter of how many times we aught to forgive those who have sinned against us is responded to with two stories that illustrate mercy and forgiveness.The servant who could not pay the ten thousand talents avoided the possibility that his entire family be sold as slaves for no less than six years upon which they would be released. Deut 15:12 

This parable imply that we must desire to be in a state of grace upon our death—free from the bondage of deadly sin, failing which we will suffer eternal damnation. On the other hand, those who died in a state of grace albeit imperfectly with venial hidden sins will be put in jail (v34), a period of purgation wherethrough our sins will be extinguished as by fire! “The sins of some men are conspicuous;pointing to judgement, but the sins of others appear later.”1 Tim 5:24 To be sure, each time when the people assemble to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, the Church implore God to not withdraw His mercy when She offers a ‘collect’ prayer for all the faithful who died albeit imperfectly in a state of grace. To be sure, our prayer supplications for our deceased loved ones is not a vainless excercise!

LET US PRAY: 4 Make me to know thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long. 6 Be mindful of thy mercy, O LORD, and of thy steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth, or my transgressions; according to thy steadfast love remember me, for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD! 8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.

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