I find today’s gospel so comforting. Jesus tells us that there is no sin so grave God cannot forgive it. He searches us out, he seeks us, he showers us with grace. There is nothing God desires more than our salvation.
Today the readings feature unlikely heroes. Sometimes we can think we are beyond God’s forgiveness. We can believe that even with God’s grace, it is not powerful enough to turn our lives around. Whether it is big or small, God’s grace works miracles. Believe in it.
My good friend, Msgr. Richard Lavalley, offers his reflections on Holy Thursday. His reflection considers a time of closed churches in the United States. We must remember that the Holy Eucharist is also a banquet. Calvary becomes present in our churches. Always when we celebrate is the passion of the Christ. And he reminds us that hunger makes the meal. May we experience a hunger for the Eucharist.
I really like things my own way. I often have a specific way I believe things should be done and I am can be unwilling to listen to someone who has a different opinion than I do. And if I must forgive someone, look out. That is not always easy for me either.
One of the first workshops on education I attended emphasized the importance of beginnings and endings when it came to individual classes, and the semester. In today’s readings we hear about two people who begin a new life in God. Yet their lives end quite differently. Hear about the power of God’s grace.
The prayer of the Pharisee in the parable told by Jesus is interesting. First, he prays to himself. Think about that phrase for a moment. The Pharisee may address God, but the gospel starts by saying the Pharisee prays to himself. Second, the Pharisee is the best in his own mind. Listen how often his prayer has the word “I” in it. And rather than seeking the grace of God and his mercy and forgiveness, upon which we all rely, he does just the opposite. He makes it a point to tell God how wonderful his is and how awful everyone else is. The one who goes home saved is the publican, the tax collector in the back who knows who he is. A sinner. One in need of God’s mercy. One who knows that even though he does not deserve God’s mercy, he can receive it if he asks with humility. What about you? Do you pray to God, or do you pray to yourself?