Lord, may I genuinely love and serve You
3rd Week of Lent : Saturday 18th March 2023
Hos. 5:15—6:6; Ps. 50:3-4,18-21;
Lk. 18:9-14 (Ps. Wk. III)
The prophet Hosea says that the people of Israel use lovely words in prayer and offer bountiful sacrifices and holocausts to convince God they are obedient to Him. Hosea bluntly points out that prayer and sacrifices cannot save anyone, however wonderful or plentiful they may be. Prayer, sacrifices and holocausts are means to lead a believer to experience internal conversion and obedience to God. True repentance has to be seen in one’s sincere efforts to change his or her way of life and show love to others. Without true love for God and neighbour, prayers and sacrifices remain empty words and rituals.
The parable by Jesus expresses the difference between merely saying prayers and making sacrifices in contrast to a truly repentant heart. For the Pharisee, the tragedy is that he does not realise the flawed nature of his prayer. He deceives himself by not looking upon himself as God’s servant but as one who deserves good from Him because of a “job well done”. The tax collector, however, is conscious of his sinfulness. He knows he does not deserve any consideration from God because of his actions. It is this helplessness and dependence that opens one to God’s grace.
During Lent, we may be caught up with saying prayers and making sacrifices. Let us be conscious, however, that what God seeks is a repentant heart that genuinely desires to love Him and be obedient to Him. May we listen to God’s voice as He says: “What I want is love, not sacrifice”.
Lord, may I genuinely love and serve You.