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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Lenten reflection, day 22

Scripture readings for today: Hosea 6:1-6; Psalm 51; Luke 18:9-14

The two figures in the Gospel today, the Pharisee and the tax collector, offer us two well-marked contrasts in their spiritual journey.

The Pharisee appears to be closer to God because of his good works. Yet his prayer sets him apart from God and others: “O God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector.”

He believes he is self-sufficient, self-enclosed. He’s forgotten something fundamental: that he is just like everyone else. He is a human being and therefore fragile, limited, and vulnerable.

He is unable to say, with the publican, “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” But the tax collector recognizes that he is incomplete, that he needs conversion and transformation.

He knows he is like other people—not someone set apart but one with them in their struggles and conflicts.

He is more likely to be compassionate and merciful to others because he identifies with them in their common humanity.

No doubt the beginning of compassion and mercy toward others is to recognize that yes, we are like them in many ways and to take as our ongoing petition, “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

Father Mark Wise, C.Ss.R.

Download our 2015 Daily Lenten Devotions booklet here.