Saturday 10 March 2018

About Today Readings

St John Ogilvie.

Hosea 5:15 – 6:6. Psalm 50(51):3-4, 18-21. Luke 18:9-14.

It is steadfast love, not sacrifice, that God desires—Psalm 50(51):3-4, 18-21. 

God be merciful to me, a sinner!

With today’s Gospel in mind, the poet Richard Crashaw (1613–1649), a Cambridge don who lost his position when he converted to Catholicism during the English Civil War, wrote:

Two went to pray? Oh, rather say/One went to brag, the other to pray;/One stands up close and treads on high/Where the other dares not send his eye/One nearer to God’s altar trod,/The other to the altar’s God.

Had the Pharisee followed the example of the psalmist, he would have sung God’s praises; instead he sang his own. Had he followed the publican’s example, he might have confessed his own many sins, beginning with his overweening pride. As Jesus said on another occasion: ‘All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted’ (Matthew 23:12).

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