“Casting away pride and embracing humility and dependence on God!”
(Based on Hos 6:1-6 and Lk 18:9-14 – Saturday of the 3rd Week in Lent)
In the summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia.
Hundreds of passengers died as they were hurled into the icy waters below.
This news of the disaster was further darkened when an investigation revealed the real cause of the accident.
… it wasn’t a technology problem like radar malfunction
… it wasn’t a climate-related issue like thick fog.
The real cause was human stubbornness and pride!
Each captain was well aware of the other ship’s presence nearby.
Both could have steered clear…
… but according to news reports, neither captain wanted to give way to the other.
Each was too proud to yield first.
By the time they came to their senses, it was too late!
This is what stubbornness and pride can do…
… harm lives
… break hearts
… destroy reputations
The Gospel of the Day exhorts a strong message on this deadly vice of “being full of ourselves”
… in a single word – “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…
… is the need to cast away pride and the need to embrace humility and dependence on God!
Let us be willing to “give way to the other”
… so that we can avoid collision of lives
… and thus prevent harming lives, breaking hearts and destroying reputations!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – THE ORDINATION OF PRIESTS – CO-WORKERS OF THE BISHOPS
“The priests, prudent co-operators of the episcopal college and its support and instrument, called to the service of the People of God, constitute, together with their bishop, a unique sacerdotal college (presbyterium) dedicated, it is true, to a variety of distinct duties.
In each local assembly of the faithful they represent, in a certain sense, the bishop, with whom they are associated in all trust and generosity; in part they take upon themselves his duties and solicitude and in their daily toils discharge them.”
Priests can exercise their ministry only in dependence on the bishop and in communion with him. >> The promise of obedience they make to the bishop at the moment of ordination and the kiss of peace from him at the end of the ordination liturgy mean that the bishop considers them his co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends, and that they in return owe him love and obedience. (CCC # 1567)