Saturday of the Third Week of Lent
“Then shall you be pleased with due sacrifices, burnt offerings and holocausts.” (Psalm 51:21) What is it that the psalmist means? When is it that external sacrifices become acceptable to the Lord? When one can give one’s heart to the Lord in humility, offering sorrow for offences.
The Psalmist sings with such confidence! Because he knows God, he can proclaim “a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.” (Psalm 51:19) And this is what Jesus shows us so clearly in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The latter, who is truly humble and repentant, even though he doesn’t feel righteous, is justified by God. On the other hand, the Pharisee does not even think he needs God to justify him. He thinks he has done that on his own by his external disciplines.
“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14). To whom do I compare myself so that I may feel righteous? Let us take a moment to bow before the Lord, especially when we notice we are looking down our nose at someone. Instead let us pray, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”