Saturday 30 March 2019

About Today Readings

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.

‘All those who raise themselves up will be humbled.’

Luke tells us that Jesus addressed this parable to those who ‘prided themselves in being upright and despised everyone else’. It’s such a well-known story – the Pharisee and the tax collector – that we might think we know its lesson. It helps to understand the sort of society that Jesus was dealing with, where you were judged by your peers according to how you behaved, dressed, gave alms, fasted and prayed. This Pharisee was well aware of his virtues and pleased to be able to parade them before God.

Meanwhile, the tax collector expressed his deep sorrow for his sinfulness and asked God for mercy. What a contrast they present! I’m sure we might stand in both their shoes at times: the Pharisee’s when we’re critical of someone and pride ourselves that ‘we’d never do that’, and the tax collector’s when we humbly own our faults and realise our complete dependence on God.

Jesus, teach me to be humble today – to serve you as you deserve to be served.

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