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23RD FEBRUARY 2021 TUESDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK OF LENT ISAIAH 55:10-11 PSALM 34:4-7.16-19 MATTHEW 6:7-15 On Sunday we read the Gospel passage from Mark that told us that after Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness where he was tempted. In today's Gospel passage about the Lord's prayer, we have a line that says, " Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. "This means that temptation can lead us into evil. Some Bible translations say, "Save us from the time of trial, " thus reflecting the idea of discomfort that God would ever lead people into temptation since God tempts no one to sin. Instead of saying that God could bring people to the test by situations, we can say that God only challenges our faith and in the end God is the one who will save us in our faith. Therefore, in our circumstances, people are to call upon God because God has given us an assurance that God's word which comes from God's mouth, does not return empty until it accomplishes God's intention. And what is God's intention? God's intention is to save us from evil: the evil of not having our daily bread, of not forgiving, of falling into temptation. As we can see, all these are not God's intention.

As we reflect on this line that says: " Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, " we can relate it with the one that says: " Forgive our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. " Other Bible translations use the word debt or trespasses in the place of the word sin because the assumption is that sin is like a debt that is owed to God and that is beyond our capacity to repay. At the level of relationships, people accumulate hurts and grievances that end up defining the relationship, and as long as wrongs from the past define the present, the wrongs will also close off the future. That is why we need God to save us from the evil of not being able to forgive. The term forgive literally means to release and how happy is one when released from any situation that hold us captive. When we pray that God deliver us from the evil of not being able to forgive others, it means we recognize God as the one to begin the process of opening up the future for new relationships by God's very act of forgiveness so that we are in a position to extend it to others.

When we ask God to deliver us from the evil of not being able to forgive others when we pray the Lord's prayer, let us see that Jesus is directing our concern to God, ourselves and our neighbour, and for the strength to care for all the three. Is it simple or difficult? Is it profound or not? Is it important or less important? The answers are on the positive side.


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