The Rest of Humanity

Mercy, not sacrifice. O God be merciful to me a sinner.

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Third Week of Lent
Readings: Hos 6:1-6; PS 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21ab; Lk 18:9-14

Note: With today’s gospel we draw a close to the compunction phase of Lent. Tomorrow, blessed Laetare Sunday – a joyful expression of the nearness of our redemption!

Prayer of the Heart

This Pharisee – follows the prescripts of the faith exactly and consistently, but superficially. Prays to himself,

I am not like the rest of humanity.

This Tax Collector – bruises the faith by following the prescripts of the faith inconsistently, but sincerely. Prays without even to raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed,

O God, be merciful to me a sinner.

The Trap

It is a horrible trap to be convinced of your own righteousness and despised everyone else. I don’t think that happens overnight. I think it happens in an erosive and corrosive way over time as one’s heart drifts away from the one we love and who made us for love.

Sanity Check

We are all like the rest of humanity. We are the humanity this Pharisee speaks of in a derisive way.
The greedy, dishonest, adulterous vices creep in and crowd out the good.

We can be the repentant humanity, this tax collector, who brings his example of humility and plea for mercy.

Beat our breast and pray.

O God, be merciful to me a sinner.

I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former.

Psalm 51 Mercy Not Sacrifice

It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice says the Lord.
We are to model the same. We are to be merciful as the Lord is merciful.

This Tax Collector sought mercy. His sacrifice was his own way of life.
This Pharisee sought praise. His mercy was for himself alone.

Last Check

So we completed the course. We choose standing before God as a sinner in need of repentance or a scrupulous religiosity that leaves no room for God.

Choose wisely.
Choose to repent.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

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