Hosea 6:1-6 ● Luke 18:9-14
Jesus said: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’
“Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’”
Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”
You’ve probably experienced times in your life when you could relate to both of these men. Sometimes things are going well and you are pleased about your “performance,” perhaps forgetting that all good things are not to your own credit. At other times, everything seems to go wrong and you know yourself as a victim of some bad choices. It is at those times when we are completely honest about our sinfulness and our brokenness, that our need for God stands out. We are then “made right with God” not because we are miserable sinners, but because we have come to know humility.
Pray to know God’s love for you as a loved sinner—not a loved righteous person, and not ‘just’ a sinner, but a loved sinner.
Reprinted with permission. For more information about this booklet and Bible translation, please see TheMessageCatholic.com.