3rd Week of Lent : Saturday 13th March 2021

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Lord, forgive me ... I am unworthy of your love

3rd Week of Lent : Saturday 13th March 2021

Hos. 5:15 —6:6; Ps. 50:3-4,18-19,20-21;
Lk. 18:9-14 (Ps Wk III)

Repentance and healing go hand in hand. Sincere repentance heals the heart and soul and restores broken human relationships. Hosea called on his nation to repent and seek God’s forgiveness and healing. They had not been faithful, even though they were superficially religious. They fell into many religious people’s error both then and now. They believed that God was pleased with devotions, liturgies, and rituals alone.

Hosea made it clear: God desired love — practical justice and care for others — instead of sacrifices. God cannot be bribed or tricked.

The Pharisee in the story was like many religious people — proud of his righteousness and spiritual achievements. He despised the tax collector, regarding him as the very worst of sinners. But Jesus said that the tax collector was right in God’s eyes because of his repentance, sincerity, and humility. He had nothing but a broken and humbled heart to offer God, and he begged for mercy.

This is the basis for the ‘Jesus prayer’ in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. No person or group has any grounds for being proud before God or for despising others. We need to learn to plead for mercy and to extend that same mercy to others, for mercy is another name for God.

Lord, have mercy on us.

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