The readings for today have many of the elements of Lent. The first reading gives me hope. We see the foreshadowing of the resurrection and are assured God “will heal us.” The psalm is a plea for God to “thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.” Certainly a Lenten theme is found in this psalm. The gospel reading directs me to right thought in my relationship with the Lord.
I find the gospel speaking to me the loudest. During our men’s group the other morning we were discussing a scriptural passage and the question I proposed was “who am I most like today in the reading?” In today’s gospel passage Luke gives examples of two men and their prayerful relationship with the Lord. Once again the Pharisee shows poorly while the sinful tax collector through humility “will be exalted.” This gives me pause to stand back in my own life and consider whether I relate more to the Pharisee or tax collector? Are my motives always pure when I’m involved in activities at the parish or do I partake for my own self-glorification? Do I really strive for a personal relationship with Christ in a humble manner? Questioning my motives, particularly during the reflective time of Lent, can bear much fruit in my lifelong spiritual journey.
I find these questions can be asked in other areas of life. Am I willing to take a humble back seat at work and home? I need to realize that I do not always need to be self-promoting. Often the role of invisible worker bee is best suited for my spiritual growth. These questions will always be examined as I sojourn through life. The season of Lent allows me more reflection time. From this reflection I hope most days I can be the tax collector and not the Pharisee. As I pray and reflect I realize the strength always comes from the grace of God and my reliance on him.
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