It is remarkable that Our Lord is never, or hardly ever, the subject of abuse. Many will disregard his teachings or fail to believe but usually they show respect. This is not surprising because Christ proclaims truth and within everyone, made in the image of God resides an understanding of truth, alongside understanding of right and wrong. As we move towards Great Lent, now only four Sundays away, it is worth emphasising that Lent is about the discovery of truth. In our self-evaluation, we discover the truth about ourselves.
Today, as we consider the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee, there is a challenge of two questions, “Am I more like the Pharisee or am I more like the Publican?”
he key aspect of the Pharisee is that he ‘stood and prayed with himself’, glad that he was not like other men, pleased that he was good living, fasting twice each week and generous in the tithes he gave. The key aspect of the Publican was that he ‘stood afar off and would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”
We have to take pride in ourselves and be glad that we pray, fast and express the gifts of the Holy Spirit, ‘... patience, kindness, goodness....’ We should also be glad that we are generous to others. But we also have to seek the truth within ourselves and our behaviour to be sure that pride is not blinding us and keeping us away from change and from God. We have to be sure that there is always a call for God’s mercy - corrective loving kindness.
Are we more like the Pharisee or the Publican?
Probably a mixture of both and our Lenten journey will help us sort this out. Great Lent is not only of repentance as an evaluation of sinfulness but also of joy as we discover the truth within us. We seek to be master of our passions, so that we have within us the restored divine likeness in our soul. The restored divine likeness in our soul!
May God give His Blessing.
This mainly contains homilies and messages from our priests, although there is some scope to share thoughts and interesting articles which we may want to share with others