Posted by: livingscripture | March 30, 2019

Third Saturday of Lent

Third Saturday of Lent, March 30, 2019

WORD of the DAY

He then 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. (Luke 18 : 9-14)

How shall I live this Word?

We are facing two people, two models of faith and prayer. On the one hand, the Pharisee who prays before his own self. Confident of his goodness, he justifies himself and condemns others. On the other hand, the tax collector who, feeling far from God and unable to trust himself, accuses himself and asks for forgiveness. We can think of these two people as two spirits, two attitudes that coexist in the heart of each of us.
Every action we take can have different results depending on the spirit in which we live it; here in prayer comes the truth of the heart. The Pharisee stands not before God, but before his own ego, he prays a monologue to himself, he thanks, but not to praise God and enter into communion with Him, but to praise himself and divide himself from others. The prayer of the proud is a diabolical separation from others and from God. Instead the publican, conscious of his own sin, does not trust even in his prayer: but the prayer of the humble penetrates the clouds (Sir 35: 17). Without humility there is no knowledge, neither of oneself nor of God.
Help us to recognize, Lord, our humiliating arrogance of a pharisee.

THE VOICE OF Pope Francis – Feast of the Holy Family, Year of Faith 27 October 2013
The Gospel passage highlights two ways of praying, one false – that of the Pharisee – and the other authentic – that of the publican. The Pharisee embodies an attitude that does not express thanksgiving to God for His benefits and His mercy, but rather self-satisfaction. The Pharisee feels just, feels right, flaunts this and judges others from the height of his pedestal. The publican, on the other hand, does not multiply words. His prayer is humble, sober, pervaded by the awareness of his own unworthiness, of his own miseries: this man really recognizes himself in need of God’s forgiveness, of the mercy of God. God who, as the first reading says, “penetrates the clouds” (Sir 35,20), while that of the Pharisee is weighed down by the weight of vanity.

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