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“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites… they love to pray for people to see them. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to the One who is in that secret place” (Matthew 6:5-6).

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SATURDAY, March 13, 2010

“He who humbles himself shall be exalted”        Luke 18, 9-14


Today's Gospel brings a lesson that is very profound and necessary for our lives—the need for God.  From a relationship standpoint, the Pharisee prays in the temple, and does so naturally.  He simply renders account and gives thanks because he is not like the others.  Thus, the payment he deserves is fair and appropriate. He feels deserving of compensation in accordance with his degree of accomplishment which, in this case and according to him, is "perfect".  Where is the relationship of love, the confession of emptiness and the need for God in this situation?


Jesus teaches the two attitudes of prayer in this Gospel with two sinners who come to the temple.  He presents a humble sinner who is pleased with himself, and rightly so.  Both men are sinners, although one does not see it because his sin is in his conceit, in his pride that blinds him, and in his failure to do what is right, or to have mercy on the humble penitent.


We must recognize on the one hand, that the good within us is God's work and therefore nothing to boast about but rather something for us to give thanks.  On the other hand, we need to realize that no matter how much good we do or how well we behave, we must always recognize our sinful nature and seek the Lord with humility.  We need to ask God to deliver us from sin and to pardon the many faults we commit every day.


The Pharisee is apparently a good person.  Like the first worshiper, he neither steals nor kills, fasts when he should and pays his debts.  But he does not love others, a critical omission.  He prides himself on his kindness and overlooks this pride. Jesus says that this man leaves the temple without having been forgiven.  This is the parable.  In which role are you?  Who are you like?  Are we among those who, considering ourselves to be fair, feel sure of ourselves and scorn others?  If so, we must rid ourselves of this attitude.


REFLECTION: In the Magnificat, Mary states that she is empty within and places all of her trust in the Father's mercy. She states that she is a model for “those who do not readily accept the adversities of personal and social life, or are victims of alienation, as they say today, but rather, who proclaim with Her that God glorifies the humble and overthrows the sovereigns from their thrones” (John Paul II. Zapopan Homily 4). The Spirituality of the Incarnation urges us to develop a special love to Mary and Joseph - the first ones to live the mystery of the Incarnate Word.


Incarnate Word:  I adore you and love you with all my heart. 


Date: 13/Mar/2010


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