1 “Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn, that he may heal us; he has stricken, and he will bind us up.2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.
3 Let us know, let us press on to know the LORD; his going forth is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”
4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away.
5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light. 6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings.
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’
13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
HOSEA THE PROPHET implore the people who are broken and in an undesireable condition, to not give in or give up, but to return to God who has the power to revive and raise us up on the third day.
Hosea’s teaching is a typological foretelling of the Son of man who was destined to die and rise from the dead on the third day, to free man from sin. The people are called to be steadfast in their love and obedience to God, so we may experience His glory.
THE GOSPEL READING: Our Lord sought to highlight the paradox of the prayer life of a Pharisee versus the honesty of the prayer of the tax collector. The tax collector is well aware that he is not well liked by the community, because his profession was corrupt and messy, hence he submit to God—fall on his sword— knowing that he does not merit God’s mercy and forgiveness! Conversely the Pharisee, a religious figure most aggregiously contrast his life with the publicly known tax collector and situates himself in the camp of the righteous!
The Pharisees prayer fits the desciption of GK Chesterton who observed that “hypocracy is the attempt to remedy a mistake without admitting it.” Whilst it is laudable that we publicly testify that we have been saved, we must be circumspect that our new life in Christ is indeed blameless! I did not mean to…, I forgot, it was a mistake, I will try again…, I overlooked it…,I was not aware of…Ask my wife…I swear on my mother’s grave it wasn’t me…! These refrains are sly ways to avoid admitting our wrongdoing! Instead of holding the elevated position we are called to be true men and women who humble ourselves, take responsibility and give an explicit ‘mea culpa’ before man and the Lord in the Confessional by admitting our errors and sinfulness.
LET US PRAY: Psalms 51:3-4,18-19
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment.
18 Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
19 then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on thy altar.
Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.
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