Imagine a sandwich, two slices of bread with something in between. Consider that the inside of the sandwich is called “spiritual growth.” And what are the two slices of bread composed of? Our two readings answer this question.

In the first reading, we are told that there can be no spiritual life and no growth without prayer. But in the Gospel, the Lord tells us there can be no prayer without forgiveness. It is on these two pillars that our spiritual life stands.

The first pillar is prayer, and the second is forgiveness. In the first reading, the first letter of Saint Peter, Paul says, “Do you want to forgive? Then you must pray because if you are not a praying person, you will not be able to forgive. Forgiveness is a spiritual act. Forgiveness is a gift from God. If you are not a praying person, you would not be able to find it in your heart to forgive somebody who has offended you.”

The Gospel speaks of the opposite pole. It says, “Do you want to pray? If you do, then you must forgive first,” because if you do not forgive, you will not be able to pray properly. If you refuse to forgive, you will just blabber those words, and they will not mean anything because they are not grounded on forgiveness.

The lessons of the two readings are very simple and very clear. The first reading says, “If you want to pray well, forgive.” The other one says, “If you want to forgive, pray.” Prayer and forgiveness are inseparable things.

Mk 11: 11-26
Looking For Jesus

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