Meditation for Saturday of the 3rd Week of Lent
(Hos 6:1-6; Lk 18:9-14)
Prophet Hosea continues his call for repentance. This time he attaches a message of hope for healing and restoration, which only the Lord will give. He highlights God’s mercy in the face of their wounds and wretchedness. “After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him.” The Lord is faithful, He will not disappoint. Hosea urged the people to press on to know the Lord, and stop being unfaithful in their love for God. “Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away.” God does not want such unstable commitment. He urged them to return to the Lord, and produce fruits of righteousness. “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings.”
To make such a faithful and fruitful return to the Lord, one must examine his practical life, and weigh it against the holiness of God. Then, he will realize how unworthy he is before God, and surrender himself to His mercy, which does not disappoint! From the depths of our wretchedness, we call on God to revive us and raise us on the THIRD DAY…
Then, how can the Pharisee go to the temple and be comparing his ‘righteousness’ with that of the tax collector? In his heart, pride has made him a small god to become a qualifier of righteousness. This pharisaic attitude flows in us whenever we nurture certain hidden joy when we realize that our situation is not as bad as someone else’s or that we have certain moral values, which others cannot sustain! We need to hear the words of Hosea and repent. We should stop looking inwards to weigh our own deeds, with ourselves as standards. This can make one to excuse himself from aiming at God’s holiness and adding more effort to improve in virtue and righteousness…This is a common problem we face today when preachers turn the Gospel message into a motivational speech.
Like the tax collector, God’s holiness exposes us and upbraids us; our hearts are broken at how unfaithful we are despite God’s steadfast love and mercy. We continue to repent, and lend ourselves to His healing mercy, saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” Surely, on the third day, with the grace of the Resurrection, He will forgive us and raise us. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Saturday March 13th, 2021.