Gospel Reflection – Saturday, March 9, 2024 – Luke 18,9-14 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Hos 6:1-6)

Reading of the Prophecy of Hosea.

“Come, let us return to the Lord, he has wounded us and will heal us, he has wounded us and will heal us. In two days he will give us life, and on the third day he will restore us, and we will live in his presence. You need to know how to follow him to recognize the Lord. Sure as the dawn is his coming, he will come to us like the early rains, like the late rains that water the ground.”

How will I treat you, Ephraim? How will I treat you, Judah? Your love is like a cloud in the morning, like dew that soon melts away. I have crushed them through the prophets, I have destroyed them with the words of my mouth, but like light my judgments expand; I want love, not sacrifices, knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (Lc 18,9-14)

— PROCLAMATION of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in their own righteousness and despised others: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray: one was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing, prayed like this within himself: ‘O God, I thank you because I am not like other men, thieves, dishonest, adulterers, nor like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I tithe all my income.’

The tax collector, however, remained at a distance, and did not even dare to raise his eyes to the sky; but he beat his chest, saying: ‘My God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ I tell you: the latter returned home justified, the other did not. For whoever elevates himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be elevated.”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

May the peace of the Lord be with you! It is with great joy that we gather today to reflect on the sacred scriptures and seek guidance for our lives. As we look at the world around us, we can easily identify with the daily experiences we face. The frenzy of modern life, the pressures of work, the personal struggles and temptations that surround us. But through it all, we find comfort and hope in God’s inspired words.

Today, the biblical passages before us invite us to reflect on humility and mercy. In the first reading, from the book of the prophet Hosea, we are confronted with the reality of our own infidelity. God calls us to return to Him, to recognize our failures and to seek His mercy. The prophet Hosea tells us: “Come, let us return to the Lord! He has wounded us and will heal us; he has wounded us and will bind our wounds” (Hos 6:1).

These powerful words remind us that God is a God of love, who calls us back to Him even when we turn away. He is the divine physician who heals our wounds and restores us. But to receive this healing, we need to recognize our weaknesses, our sins and humbly turn to Him.

In the Gospel of Luke, we find the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. Two men who go up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee, full of himself, boasts of his righteousness and looks with contempt on the tax collector. He says: “O God, I thank you that I am not like other men, thieves, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11).

On the other hand, the publican, recognizing his own sinfulness, does not dare to lift his eyes to heaven. He beats his chest and says: “O God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). Jesus tells us that it is the tax collector, not the Pharisee, who returns home justified.

This parable teaches us about the importance of humility in our spiritual life. She reminds us that we cannot trust in our own righteousness, but must recognize our weaknesses and depend on God’s grace. The publican’s prayer is a prayer of humility and repentance, a prayer that invites us to recognize our need for God and to seek his mercy.

Dear brothers and sisters, humility is an essential virtue in our spiritual journey. It frees us from pride and arrogance, allowing us to recognize that we are dependent on God in all areas of our lives. Humility leads us to seek God’s will and trust in his wisdom rather than relying on our own limited abilities.

But how can we cultivate humility in our daily lives? Allow me to share some metaphors and stories that will help us better understand this concept and challenge us to live by it.

Imagine yourself on top of a mountain, looking at the vast horizon in front of you. You feel small and insignificant in the face of the grandeur of God’s creation. This image reminds us that although we have our talents and abilities, we are only creatures before the Creator. Humility invites us to recognize our position as beloved children of God, dependent on his grace and mercy.

Another image we can consider is that of a leafy tree. A tree that bends under the weight of its fruits, recognizing that it is not itself that produces them, but rather the fertile soil, the rain and the sun that God provides. Likewise, humility calls us to recognize that everything we have and are is a gift from God. We should not be proud of our achievements, but rather thank God for his generosity.

A story that illustrates humility is that of King David. Even though he was anointed as king of Israel, he never lost sight of his dependence on God. In many psalms, we see David humbling himself before the Lord, recognizing his smallness and seeking divine guidance. He knew that his strength came from God and not from himself.

Another powerful story is that of the apostle Paul. Before his conversion, Paul was a Pharisee, full of pride and zeal for his own righteousness. But when he met Christ on the road to Damascus, his life was transformed. Paul became an example of humility, recognizing that everything he was and did came from the grace of God. He wrote, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Dear brothers and sisters, these stories and images help us understand the importance of humility in our spiritual lives. But how can we apply these principles to our daily lives?

One way is through the practice of prayer. Prayer places us before God in humility and submission, recognizing that He is the sovereign of our lives. When praying, we must remember that it is not we who control the world, but God. We must seek His will and trust His wisdom.

Another way is through service to others. Jesus gave us the supreme example of humility by washing the feet of his disciples. He taught us that the greatest among us is the one who puts himself at the service of others. When we serve those in need, we recognize that we are not superior to them, but we are all equal before God.

Furthermore, humility calls us to recognize our mistakes and seek forgiveness. When we make mistakes, we must have the courage to admit them and ask God and others for forgiveness. Humility frees us from the burden of pride and allows us to grow in our relationships and on our spiritual journey.

Dear brothers and sisters, as we close our reflection on humility and mercy, I want to challenge you to take action. Don’t just listen to these words, but try to apply them in your daily lives.

Start with prayer, humbly seeking the presence of God in your lives. Examine your conscience and ask for forgiveness for any pride or arrogance that may be present in your hearts. Seek opportunities to serve others, especially those most in need. Be sensitive to the needs of those around you and be willing to reach out in love and compassion.

And finally, always remember God’s immense mercy. He is always ready to forgive us and welcome us into his loving arms. Never forget that you are loved and valued by God, not because of your own achievements, but because of his unconditional grace and love.

May the grace and peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, be with you. May the Holy Spirit guide and strengthen you on your journey of humility and mercy. And may you be living witnesses of God’s love in everything you do.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.