Homily (Reflection) for Saturday of the Third Week of Lent (21st March, 2020) on the Gospel
Ps 50:3-4.18-21 (R. cf. Hos 6:6);
Topic: Behold an enemy.
In today’s gospel, two men went up to the temple to pray, a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee, the gospel reads, “standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’” On the other hand, “the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” Jesus concludes saying, “I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humbled themselves will be exalted.’”
In the prayer made by the Pharisee, one thing that defiled all his deeds is pride. Most probably he had no idea of this because it comes from within, cf. Mk 7:21-23. Hence it is not an easy task helping one to realise how proud he/she is.
The book of Proverbs reads, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov 16:18). Again, “A man's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honour” (Prov 29:23). And again, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but with the humble is wisdom” (Prov 11:2).
The higher one goes even spiritually the more serious this enemy attacks. Just as pride defiled the Pharisee and all the acts that supposed to be meritorious so it also affects us. It is important to heed Saint Paul’s advice, “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves” (Phil 2:3). And always remember that “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world” (1Jn 2:16).
Bible Reading: Mk 7:14-23; 1Jn 1:5-10.
Thought for today: Pride defiles a person.
Let us pray: Lord, give us your grace to conquer the enemy within called pride – Amen.
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