March 13, 2021
by Angela Maynard
Creighton University's Student Health Services
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Third Week of Lent
Lectionary: 242

Hosea 6:1-6
Psalm 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21ab
Luke 18:9-14

Praying Lent Home

The Midpoint of Lent

Lent as: Hearing the Cry of the Poor

Helping Little Children with Lent

Today Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.  The lesson today is how to pray.  What is our attitude around prayer?

This gospel fits beautifully with the season of Lent.  A season full of self-examination.  The Pharisee in, prayer, boasts ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week.’ 

Who is praised in this prayer?  The pharisee utters words of judgement.  During a recent morning of reflection that I had the opportunity to participate in, somebody pointed out, we as Christians are quick to judge.  This is contrary to the teachings of the gospels.  Jesus associated with anybody and everybody—particularly those to whom the Pharisee refers.

In biblical times the tax collector was loathed.  His prayer is ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ He knew he was in need of mercy.  He humbly petitions for forgiveness.

Jesus uses one of the seven deadly sins, pride in contrast with the heavenly virtue of humility, to teach us the importance of attitude when we pray.  It’s easy to get caught up in the how to pray and where to pray.  Let us take the opportunities of the Lenten season to perform some self-examination around the manner in which we pray.

“Our strength is prayer and the prayer of a humble person is the weakness of God.  The Lord is weak only in this one sense:  He is weak before the prayers of his people.” -- Pope Francis                  

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