Saturday, March 9, 2013

Third Saturday of Lent: “I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former…” (Luke 18: 14)

Not all the Pharisees were like the one Jesus presents in the parable. However, it undoubtedly often happened that these persons coincided with the type of Pharisee Jesus describes. Arrogance, presumption, aggressiveness, and despising everyone else, artfully and truthfully describe their attitude during prayer. Here he is, standing erect before God, almost as God’s equal. Then he passes a totally negative judgment on the poor man, who like him, had come to pray.

In fact, for the Pharisee the others are all ‘greedy, dishonest, and adulterous. And yet, this Publican who, according to the mentality of the times, meant a person of ill repute, disapproved at both the ethical and civil levels, acts very differently in the parable. He stands at a distance with a humble attitude, beating his breast and thus expressing exteriorly what he felt in his heart. He declares himself a sinner. Exactly the opposite of what the Pharisee says. Jesus’ description of the attitudes of these two men is so efficaciously opposite that they urge me to take a position. This does not only mean to place myself with the one who is authentic in his prayer because he has the courage of admitting the truth of his life. Beyond that, it asks me to make the same effort to be pure interiorly and to be truly repentant for what is negative in my life. This is not to be done with discouragement or pessimism, but with a lively trust in the One whose very being is mercy, forgiveness, unlimited love.

Today in my pause for silent contemplation, I will examine my attitude in prayer and ask Jesus to help me conform myself to the one that is pleasing to Him.

Lord Jesus, remove the Pharisee from my heart. Make me ‘true’ with Your Truth and help me to have a positive attitude toward everyone.

- Living Scripture