THE readings of the Mass for Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Lent, (Daniel 3,25.34-43; Mt 18,21-35) which this year falls on March 5, remind us that we are all sinners, but God’s mercy is always available if we only do our part of repentance and conversion. Also, the gospel, in particular, highlights the point that in our relation among ourselves, we should be as merciful with each other as God is with us.

With respect to our unavoidable sinfulness, we should avoid over-reacting. What we should immediately do is to go to God, asking for forgiveness, promising some amendment and reparation for our sins, and when able, to go to confession.

We should avoid staying too long keeping some guilt-feelings and sadness in our heart. These conditions are not good for us. They are harmful, and worse, they can be like wedges that make more openings for temptations to come to us. We should get rid of these feelings as soon as possible.

The ideal condition is always for us be at peace with God and with everybody else. We have to ooze with our faith-based confidence. The moment we feel some disturbance in our heart, we should act quickly to seek relief through God’s mercy. Remember St. Paul saying, “Where sin abounded, grace did more abound.” (Rom 5,20) He is slow to anger and quick to forgive.

God is always a father to us. He will always understand us and do everything to help us. Before him, we are like little children who cannot avoid making a mess around. Let’s remember that we have to contend not only with our own weaknesses, but also with powerful evil spiritual enemies.

Let’s just strengthen our sense of divine filiation, that is, that we are all children of an infinitely good and merciful father who will do everything to bring us back to him. His justice is never without mercy.

Whenever we feel the sting of our weaknesses and sinfulness, together with their antecedents and consequences, their causes and effects, let’s never forget to consider also God’s mercy that is always given to us, and, in fact, given to us abundantly.

Acknowledging our faults and sinfulness does us a lot of good. It deepens our humility, very crucial in our life for without it, practically no other virtue develops in us. It keeps us simple and prevents us from falling into complications, since we would then have no need to come up with a web of excuses, rationalizations and other unnecessary self-defense mechanisms.

Acknowledging our faults and sinfulness leads us to have a working spirit of penance that purifies us and makes up for them. It puts us in the proper condition for further spiritual growth. It gives us greater intimacy with God and closer relationship with others. We would become more objective and fair in our views and outlook, since acknowledging our own faults, defects and sinfulness would make us more understanding towards others.

We have to learn to be quick to say sorry to God and to run to him once we feel the sting of our weaknesses and defects, and especially when we fall. We should end our day with an examination of conscience that concludes with that word so endearing to God: Sorry.

Given this fact of life about ourselves, we should also be merciful with one another, willing to bear the burden of the others, just as Christ did for all of us on the cross. This is actually how we become more and more Christ-like which is the ideal goal of our life.