17, మార్చి 2023, శుక్రవారం

Saturday of the Third Week of Lent

 

Saturday of the Third Week of Lent

Hosea 6:1-6

Luke 18:9-14

Praying with the Right Attitude

 

The readings of the day focus on the attitude or the disposition towards Prayer, in other words how are we praying to God.

In the first reading, Prophet Hosea presents to us the prayer of repentance of the people of Israel who are afraid of God’s punishments. They were in fact complaining that God has abandoned them, hurt them and also have a feeling that only God can heal and save them. So they offer a prayer of repentance.

But when we reflect this repentant prayer, this appears superficial and their attitude in prayer and their love towards God was just momentary. There was no real repentance.

God was not pleased with this attitude, this empty expression of words and offerings. Their words seem highly devotional but hearts and actions are not resonating with their words, there was No harmony between their words and attitude. That’s why God condemns their sinful attitude.

Similarly in the Gospel too we find this type of attitude towards God in Prayer.

The societal understanding:

There are two people who went to pray, A Pharisee and a tax collector but only one goes home “justified”. The two persons in today’s Gospel represent two kinds of personalities, two kinds of attitudes and two verdicts. In people’s eyes:

     A Pharisee is considered a model of virtue and wisdom,While

     A  Tax collector is considered a sinner and disgraceful to the community

The prayer of the Pharisee:

     He prayed with exalted tone filled with pride

     He lists all his merits ( fasting and going beyond the rules)

     He compares himself to others (looks down on others)

     His focus was on the flaws of the other while losing sight of his need

     In fact, it appears like praying but it’s a kind of self praise and satisfaction.

The prayer of the tax collector, on the other hand,

     He looks at his miserable situation of heart ( life)

     He acknowledges his sinful nature

     He looks and begs for God’s mercy

St. Paul writing to Corinthians says, “ Pride puffs up, whereas love builds up”( 1 Corinthians 8:1). The attitude of pride and arrogance pushes us away from reality, from others, despises and looks down on others and blinds our hearts. Whereas love unites and helps to see ourselves in our real situation and welcomes the weak and embraces. This was what happened to Pharisee and the people of Israel. Their love for God was momentary, it only appeared on external offerings and utterance of few devotional words. Therefore, to be pleased and  be justified in God’s sight the readings give us a better solution.

   God requires of us is genuine loving actions not empty words and rituals

   God requires of is knowledge of God (profound relationship with God) not knowledge about God

Therefore, today it is not how many masses we participated, or how many prayers we have said but how our attitude and disposition in our relationship with God and others. Our attitude should spring from our prayer and our prayer should spring from our way of life. So we need to be humble in our approach (in our hearts, feeling and thoughts, words and actions); Sincere contrition and open the door of mercy of God; Sincere love towards God and others.

And this lent, let us choose to fast from arrogance, pride and superficial offerings and prayers.

 

 FR. JAYARAJU MANTHENA OCD

 

11వ సామాన్య ఆదివారం

11వ సామాన్య ఆదివారం  యెహెజ్కేలు17:22-24, 1 కొరింతి 5:6-10, మార్కు 4:26-34 ఈనాటి పరిశుద్ధ గ్రంధ పఠణములు దేవుని యొక్క రాజ్య విస్తరణ గురించి బో...