REFLECTION FOR TODAY
March 13, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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. Lk. 18:9-10
God desires our love and wants us to know his love for us. He invites us to be humble and accept his mercy so that he may heal us and bind up our wounds. Our Lenten prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are empty offerings if they are done without humility and the desire to know and love God more.
Our gospel reference today introduces us to the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. These two went to the Temple to pray, but their prayers were very different from each other. The prayer of the Pharisee prayed to himself and he was very dishonest and proud that he looked down on the tax collector.
The tax collector on the other hand was exceptionally sincere and honest. He better understood God and himself. He known he was a sinner in need of God’s mercy. Jesus concluded by saying that the tax collector went home justified but not the Pharisee. He states, “…for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
True humility is simply being honest. Too often in life we are not honest with ourselves and, therefore, are not honest with God. Thus, for our prayer to be true prayer, it must be honest and humble. And the humble truth for all of our lives is best expressed by the prayer of the tax collector who prayed, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”
How easy is it for you to admit your sin? When we understand the mercy of God, this humility is much easier. God is not a God of harshness but is a God of the utmost mercy. When we understand that God’s deepest desire is to forgive us and to reconcile us to Himself, then we will deeply desire honest humility before Him.
Lent is an important time for us to deeply examine our conscience and make new resolutions for the future. Doing so will bring new freedom and grace into our lives. So, do not be afraid to honestly examine your conscience so as to see your sin clearly in the way God sees it. Doing so will put you in a position to pray this prayer of the tax collector: “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”
Reflect, today, upon your sin. What do you struggle with the most right now? Are there sins from your past that you have never confessed? Are there ongoing sins that you justify, ignore and are afraid to face? Take courage and know that honest humility is the road to freedom and the only way to experience justification before God.
Merciful Lord, I thank You for loving me with a perfect love. I thank You for Your incredible depth of mercy. Help me to see all of my sin and to turn to You with honesty and humility so that I can be freed of these burdens and become justified in Your sight. Jesus, I trust in You.