Daily Reflection
From a Creighton Student's Perspective
of Creighton University's Online Ministries

March 21st, 2009

Lydia Reinig

Junior, Communication Studies


Hos 6:1-6
Ps 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21ab
Lk 18:9-14

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

The Daily Reflections

When I write a reflection, I obviously reflect on the readings, reading and rereading the passages. On one of my read-throughs of today’s gospel I found myself laughing as I imaged the scene of the Pharisee and tax collector.

Pharisee: [entering dramatically so everyone notices, but yet acting as no one else
is present] “Oh, God, I am so wonderful. I do not waste my time and my resources. I give to the poor. I even go to church…and I…” [Spotlight shift to tax collector in the corner. His head hangs low; his eyes remain on the floor.]

Tax Collector: “Dear God, I am trying to live out your will and the model of
Jesus, but I made lots of mistakes again. I cheat people out of money all the time! I am not worthy to even be in the presence of these people.”

Things in life are only comedic because we relate to them so easily.
Sometimes we say we are high and mighty. We walk around letting the world know how important, what a model of virtue and wisdom, we are. In these moments life becomes all about “my way.” My concerns rest only in my own selfish desires, without considerations for my neighbor and for the purpose God has given to me. I understand this as self-righteousness. Sometimes we fail to allow ourselves to be loved. Sometimes we fail to let the world and God tell us we are beautiful human beings. We walk through life focused on all the stupid decisions and failed attempts we have made. I call this self-defeat. In both situations we compare our personal worth to a worldly idea, to an “other” we value more.

To me the message is not to emulate the tax collector instead of the Pharisee. It is about “us” and “them” and what separates us from God and love. In these moments of realizing our humanity we humble ourselves to God’s care, allowing ourselves to receive his mercy and hope. The first reading and psalm repeats the message of God’s mercy also found in the Gospel. “It is mercy I desire, not sacrifice.” May this message continue to frame our Lenten journey.

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