Holyrood Church 715 West 179 Street, Upper West side Manhattan, USA, 212-923-3770

To pray is to ask for forgiveness and also to forgive others



Reading: And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? Mark 11:17.


Good morning, happy Friday, and many blessings.


The Gospel of today (Mark 11:11-26) speaks of several things – the Temple as a place of worship and prayer, not of business, the need for faith, prayer, forgiveness. And we must bear fruit. Let us also drive out in our life what does not belong there so that we can serve God better.


To enhance the beauty of a picture, we choose a suitable frame. The parable of the fig tree is such a frame. The picture Jesus chose is that of the temple. On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus went first to the temple. The temple is still having daily sacrifices. The pilgrims whom Jesus had joined still came to the temple. But all this is only outward, the mind of the priests and the leaders is far from God. They do not want to honor God and serve him. Their piety and cult has for them only the meaning of furthering their national greatness, to satisfy their political aspirations, their material prosperity. It is this fig tree that has only the stem and the foliage but has lost its fruitfulness. For being unfruitful, it is condemned This is the meaning of the first part of the parable. This temple will be destroyed. Not a stone shall remain standing on another. The second part of the parable: Jesus cleanses the temple and predicts its destruction.


Each of us have our own ideas of what a church should be like. It may be about the design and the appearance, the color of the paint, the furnishing, etc., right down to how the staff should dress and what the priests should be doing. And because each person can have a peculiar opinion about such matters, the Church has issued rules and guidelines to whatever imaginable point of contention so that there can be something to refer to and to follow. In the gospel, when Jesus went about driving out those who were selling and buying in the Temple, He was not just trying to impose His personal views on what the Temple should be like. He quoted this scripture passage: "My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. But you have turned it into a robbers' den."


So, it seems that the Temple has become a religious commercial and business center and the original purpose of it being a center of prayer was eroded and diluted. What had happened to the Temple can also happen to any church. People can forget that they have entered the house of God and that they have come to pray to God and not to prey on others. And Jesus also gave two teachings about prayer:1. Everything you ask and pray for, believe that you have it already, and it will be yours. 2. When you stand in prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your failings too.


So, to pray is to ask for forgiveness and also to forgive others. There can be no other opinions about that. Because that is what God wants of us.



Fr. Luis+

Date news: 
Friday, May 28, 2021 - 08:45

Ministry at the time of Coronavirus (Covid 19): Prevent, cure and accompany

Now we have to shape what some have started calling; The Church at Home. Although I keep asking myself; What do those who do not have a home do? For this reason, at the same time, I am declaring today in our Holyrood Church a Lenten day of prayer, fasting and reading the Bible in the Time of the Coronavirus.

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