Be merciful, Lord


March 13, 2021 

Third Saturday of Lent

WORD of the DAY 

But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’  (Luke 9:13)

How shall I live this Word?   

In us both souls coexist: we are both like the Pharisee, but also, in some corner of our conscience, the tax collector breathes in us. The Pharisee before God, stands as one who justifies himself and considers others nothing. Therefore he is not really before God, but before himself, placing himself one step higher than the others. Even when he gives thanks, he is at the center, he always looks in the mirror. Let us pay attention to the point where the parable of Jesus touches precisely our way of being. When just saying ‘I’ separates me and contrasts me with all the others, when I separate to measure myself against others, I am out of the justice of the Gospel. On the contrary, the tax collector stands before God at a distance, feeling identified with the sin of the world: his profession in fact clearly implies it in a worldly logic of unfair ‘taxes’. Solidarity in Adam is the solid basis for solidarity in Christ.

Jesus frees us from this mortal solitude of a ‘good’ conscience: the communion of saints is to sit confidently at the table of sinners. Jesus, and He alone can do it, is at the origin of a new humanity. He is never separated from sinners, never. Even on the cross, in the extreme solitude of abandonment, He says to the thief: “you, with me”. It is heaven. Jesus frees us from that separation which is the soul of hypocrisy. He makes us church, communion of saints: also, and precisely inasmuch as they are in need of forgiveness.

Lord, as you know and as you want, have mercy on me, the sinner!

The Voice of  Andre Louf, Monk

No encounter with Jesus is possible, no true faith, no sincere love, no prayer that reaches God, no fraternal participation, apart from the miracle of the publican’s prayer: recognition of one’s sin and abandonment to mercy.

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