Being Justified by Mercy

March 13, 2021
Saturday of the Third Week of Lent
Readings for Today

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Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. Luke 18:9–10

This Scripture passage introduces the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. They both go to the Temple to pray, but their prayers are very different from each other. The prayer of the Pharisee is very dishonest, whereas the prayer of the tax collector is exceptionally sincere and honest. Jesus concludes by saying that the tax collector went home justified but not the Pharisee. He states, “…for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

True humility is simply being honest. Too often in life we are not honest with ourselves and, therefore, are not honest with God. Thus, for our prayer to be true prayer, it must be honest and humble. And the humble truth for all of our lives is best expressed by the prayer of the tax collector who prayed, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

How easy is it for you to admit your sin? When we understand the mercy of God, this humility is much easier. God is not a God of harshness but is a God of the utmost mercy. When we understand that God’s deepest desire is to forgive us and to reconcile us to Himself, then we will deeply desire honest humility before Him.

Lent is an important time for us to deeply examine our conscience and make new resolutions for the future. Doing so will bring new freedom and grace into our lives. So do not be afraid to honestly examine your conscience so as to see your sin clearly in the way God sees it. Doing so will put you in a position to pray this prayer of the tax collector: “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

Reflect, today, upon your sin. What do you struggle with the most right now? Are there sins from your past that you have never confessed? Are there ongoing sins that you justify, ignore and are afraid to face? Take courage and know that honest humility is the road to freedom and the only way to experience justification before God.

My merciful Lord, I thank You for loving me with a perfect love. I thank You for Your incredible depth of mercy. Help me to see all of my sin and to turn to You with honesty and humility so that I can be freed of these burdens and become justified in Your sight. Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross – Reflection Twenty-Four – The Gaze of Mother and Son

Resources for Lent

Novena to Saint Joseph
March 10–18

More Gospel Reflections

Divine Mercy Reflections

Scripture Meditations for Lent

Saints/Feasts for Today

Mass Reading Options

Featured images above: The Pharisee and the Publican By Barent Fabritius


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