Saturday 18 March 2023 – Lord have mercy!

3rd Week of Lent

1st Reading: Hos 6:1-6

“Come, let us return to the Lord, it is he who has rent, but he will heal us; he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds. He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up, to live in his presence. Let us know, let us strive to know the Lord; as certain as the dawn is his coming, and his judgment shines forth like the light of day! He will come to us like the rain, like spring rain that waters the earth.” What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your piety is like a morning cloud, like the dew that early passes away. For this reason I smote them through the prophets, I slew them by the words of my mouth; For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. 

Gospel Lk 18:9-14

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity greedy, dishonest, adulterous or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Lord have mercy! The Pharisee states that he’s not greedy, dishonest, adulterous…but rather fasts twice a week and pays his tithes! A number of good Christians can honestly say the same thing! However, Jesus says that the tax collector who also sincerely confesses his sinful state, went home justified than the Pharisee! The Pharisee “prayed himself” while the tax collector prayed to God. Prayer makes us humble and only the humble can really pray. No matter how good or holy we think we are, we are all candidates of God’s mercy. In prayer we do not compare our virtues with that of our fellow human beings but rather we are conscious that our goodness is nothingness before God. Prayer is that unique experience where before the all-Holy God, we discover our frailty, weakness, sinfulness and inadequacy. Let us kneel before the throne of Divine Mercy. 

PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner! Lord, make us ever aware of our sins so that in humility we daily work out our salvation in fear and trembling! Amen!


A HUMBLE PRAYER: God desires that we love and know Him and that we have contrite hearts. He prefers these to sacrifice. These are the virtues that we see with the tax collector in today’s readings. God does not want us to be in a state of self-pity, but rather humble ourselves before him. This is contrasted with pride, so full of self to a level that God is reduced to a mere being that we brag to. To such a being, God will be disgusted. Let us always keep in mind that, God does not wish to see us lost and broken. We are on track when we focus on God through faith. In this way, we shall discover life’s reality that is anchored on God. With this realization, we shall humbly say, “O God be merciful to me a sinner” is at the same time a great prayer and a great attitude before God.