March 21, 2020 – 3rd Week of Lent

“Casting away pride and embracing humility and dependence on God!”

(Based on Hos 5:15 – 6:6 and Lk 18:9-14)

In this time of grave concern, as we grapple with COVID-19, and as we offer the world to the Healing Providence of the Lord…
… we ask another question, to begin our Reflection for the day…

Which is the only disease in the world, which can  affect everyone else, except the person himself/herself?

Is the answer too hard to guess?

Hmm..

Well.. the answer is pretty simple…

It is…

Pride!

Pride is the disease that can affect everyone else, except the person himself/herself!
Pride is the sickness that can cause harm to all others, except the one who possess it!

Pride can be a snare to the other, while one enjoys oneself, in the false pleasure it gives!
Pride can be a spirit-dampener for the other, while it is an ego-inflator for oneself!

The Gospel of the Day exhorts a strong message on this deadly vice of Pride.

Chapter 18 of the Gospel of St Luke begins with two parables, that teach on the aspect of Prayer.

The parable of the Widow who was persistent (Lk 18: 1-8)
The parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Lk 18: 9-14)

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector have interesting comparisons with respect to the various gestures and actions that they take:

Both go up to the Temple area to pray…

The Pharisee took up his position… the tax collector stood off at a distance

The Pharisee spoke the prayer to himself… the tax collector would not even raise his eyes to heaven

The Pharisee spoke of his personal glories…the tax collector acknowledged being a sinner, in need of mercy.

Though the Gospel doesn’t speak of it, it seems that both, the Pharisee and the tax collector had taken a mirror with themselves, when they went to pray….

A mirror.. yeah!

But, the strange fact is that, both of them used the mirror in contrasting manners!

The Pharisee used the mirror and saw his many achievements and accomplishments…
… being unlike the rest of the sinful humanity like the greedy, dishonest or adulterous
… fasting twice a week
… pay tithes on his whole income

The tax collector, also used a mirror… but saw in it, his many failures and shortcomings…
… the moments when he had cheated others to have greater financial gains
… the times he had subjected himself to be a traitor by working against his own people
… the need to seek for God’s mercy acknowledging his sinfulness

Prayer is like a mirror…but it depends on one’s attitude and disposition what one sees…

If one is filled with pride and self-conceit, one sees only one’s accomplishments…
… and thus pushes out God and replaces oneself as the source of all good works!

If one is truly humble and modest, one sees one’s weaknesses and limitations…
… and thus acknowledge the dependence on God and on His grace in life!

Prayer could be made into a time of reciting the litany of one’s great achievements…
…or prayer could be made into a moment of seeking God’s mercy and compassion.

Prayer could be made into an occasion to boast of oneself and put down others…
… or prayer could be made into a moment to see the glittering light of God guiding us.

What is our attitude and disposition?

Am I afflicted with the sickness of pride which makes me to flaunt only myself at the expense of the other?
Am I distressed with the disease of arrogance which makes me to see myself as the greatest person in the world, casting aside all people and even God?

There is something of “this” Pharisee, perhaps, in all of us which needs to be shun…

There is something of “this” tax collector, which needs to be cultivated…

The need to cast away pride and the need to embrace humility and dependence on God!

Let the words of the Lord through Prophet Hosea be a reminder to all of us:
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice…
… the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings!” (Hos 6:6)

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The highest point of humility consists in not merely acknowledging one’s abjection…
… but in taking pleasure therein.

Not from any want of breadth or courage, but to give the more glory to God’s Divine Majesty…

… and to esteem one’s neighbour more highly than one’s self.

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