March 29, 2014
SATURDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK OF LENT
Hosea 6:1-6 * Luke 18:9-14
Interestingly, all the readings have to do with mercy and our relationship with God. What really jumps out at me is the contrasting actions of the characters in Jesus’ parable. Jesus said the Pharisee “spoke this prayer to himself,” while the tax collector “prayed.” The Pharisee’s actions are entirely self-fulfilling, whereas the tax collector is truly humbling himself and acknowledging that he needs God. It’s a noteworthy difference.
The Pharisee was being self-centered. He isn’t asking God for his help and mercy. He’s being prideful, saying how perfect he is—he doesn’t need to ask anything of God. He even “took up his position” so everyone would notice him praying. How arrogant!
The tax collector separated himself from the others. He wouldn’t raise his eyes to heaven—maybe out of shame or humility. He prayed, addressing God (not himself, like the Pharisee) and owns up to his sins, asking for God’s mercy. The tax collector is focusing his prayer on his own humanity and need for God.
Like the tax collector, we all need God’s help. Let us prepare our hearts for Easter instead of telling God we are already saved without him.
- Is my prayer life more like that of the Pharisee or the tax collector?
- How have I made prayer about myself rather than about God?
- What about my life can I change to strengthen my relationship with Christ?
St. Mary's Catholic Center will post a daily reflection from a student, former student, or staff member every day of Lent. We have compiled these reflections into a handout, given to our students on Ash Wednesday.