The overall message from today’s readings seem to be reminding us that we are all sinners BUT also that God does forgive our sins and through scripture and in particular, through the life of Jesus, we are shown a better way to live our lives.
In the reading from Hosea we are told that “He will come to us like the rain, like spring rain that waters the earth.” What an image, knowing that God will refresh us and help us to feel more alive if we go to God with our concerns, decisions and our joys. As I read the line, “For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice” I thought of my decision, these past several Lents, to try and “do more” to love and forgive, trusting that God will lead me in becoming a better person. In the Psalm today again the message seems to be telling me, that, when we fall or feel destroyed we need to rekindle and nourish our gifts and our relationships and to love others and ourselves, as God loves us.
After reading Luke’s Gospel today it seems to me that today’s Pharisees would be people who appear to be unsure of themselves and insecure, and people who do not acknowledge the wisdom and gifts of others in their lives. When the Pharisee names the qualities of greed, dishonesty, and adultery it appears to me that this Pharisee is looking for all the bad or the human flaws in others and is not taking note of his own human flaws and sins.
The Pharisee puts himself in a position to not be vulnerable and to not experience the freedom that comes from recognizing personal flaws and the humility that comes from recognizing these personal flaws. When we can freely examine our own lives we are then free to fully use and enrich the God–given gifts we are given and attempt to overcome our shortcomings and our sins.
Our goal should be to strive to live out the Gospel and to improve the human condition, by recognizing these flaws and prayerfully asking for guidance and healing to overcome our flaws and our sins. Certainly we see the flaws of others and we are called to help others in our life, to experience the freedom of acknowledging human flaws in all of us and to work together, in community, to aspire to “turn away from sin” and to respond to the teachings and expectations of our Lord.
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