How can we ever be so foolish to think that petty pious actions would impress God or gain favor with him. The Pharisee was a fool to think this way. With regard to the Publican and with regard to all of us, it is not because we are sinners that God is pleased, but because we admit our need for his forgiveness.
To love someone presupposes some kind of relationship. The Scribe agreed with Jesus. And Jesus said to him some very important words: You are not far from the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is about right relationships. God’s kingdom is not some far off distant dream. It is right here, right now, depending on how we live with God, our neighbor and ourselves.
St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary –
St. Joseph never once asked, “What’s in this for me?” Joseph is noted for his immediate “yes-response” to the task at hand. He lovingly takes Mary into his home at the call of the angel and he provides a loving home no matter what the consequences are for him. Instead of being manipulative he complies with and accepts the Lord’s challenge in his life.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem –
Through his life, death and resurrection Christ achieved what no one else could. As we celebrate that truth, let’s also rejoice in the principle behind it: God always completes the task. What was true in history can and will be true in our lives as well.
St. Patrick –
In his model prayer Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”How can we continue to receive God’s forgiveness if we have unforgiving hearts? What we receive from God we are to pass on to others. It is through God’s grace that we are able to forgive, not through our own efforts.
Some of our greatest blessings get overlooked simply because we are familiar with them. We get so bogged down in the routine of life that we fail to see the good things. Instead of wanting and wishing for more, why don’t we take time today to look at the things we already have? We may not be rich, but we have more than most of the people of this world. So, could we find it somewhere in our hearts to take stock and to be grateful for the good things close at hand?
Third Sunday of Lent –
To be loved and respected is a universal human need. Our personal sense of worth is greatly affected one-way or another by how others relate to us. If you have ever found acceptance where you expected it least and needed it most, you know what a miracle of grace it can be.
Not all of the prodigals are in a distant country of their own free will. Some have been sent and kept there by the greed, the arrogance, the pride, the indifference of a respectable sibling or parent who stayed at home and kept the rules. The prodigals of the world have this in their favor. They know they are sinners and know that they need to repent. It is the prodigal son who returned home admitting to his father that he is a sinner.
In today’s gospel we see Jesus talking about his own suffering and death. He sees himself as the son who was rejected and finally killed. Yet even in such tragedy, he was so tuned in to God that he could see God’s hand in it all and say with the psalmist: It was the Lord who did this, and we find it marvelous to behold. Do we have a discerning spirit developed through prayer and the sacraments which will help us see the hand of God in our own lives?
In today’s world it is so easy to become like the rich man even in our poverty. Even what little we think we have can look like an abundance to others who have so much less. It is easy to give from our leftovers. It is easy to write a check and send some money. However, people less fortunate than we need recognition and love just as much as we do and even more.