Saturday of the Third WeekReflection
The Pharisee saw himself as perfect, especially in comparison to the tax collector. Some people mistakenly believe that religion is only for perfect people. However, perfection is something that only God achieves; no person is perfect. God is always there, waiting with open arms to provide the mercy that all of us need. Mercy is a gift which can warm our hearts so that through the power of God’s love, which is offered to all of us, we can be a light to others. God’s love can transform and change us so that we can give love and show mercy to others. In addition, it helps us realize how special we are to God our Father and how much He loves us despite our failings.
Recall that the Pharisee failed to ask God for mercy, probably because he didn’t think he needed it. The tax collector, who was reviled by the people, knew that even if others might never forgive him, God could, and he knew he needed God’s forgiveness. This parable teaches us that we need to pray well, which means to pray humbly with a deep recognition of our need for God’s mercy. We need to ask for it and seek to live by it. On December 8, 2015, Pope Francis inaugurated the Year of Mercy. Just like today’s readings, he calls us to know “the goodness and tenderness of God” and to understand that if we wish for God to deal with us with mercy, then we must be merciful and show compassionate love. As today’s psalm states, this is what God wants.
Merciful Father, may we follow the way of the good and keep to the paths of the just by being merciful to those who have erred and to those who are less fortunate than us.
Lucia Thomas, ’16
First Reading: Hosea 6:1-6
Psalm 51:3-4, 18-21b
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website