Faith Daily | 13 March 2021
PRAYER of the WEEK Lent Three
Lord God, our Redeemer,
who heard the cry of your people
and sent your servant Moses to lead them out of slavery:
free us from the tyranny of sin and death
and, by the leading of your Spirit,
bring us to our promised land;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen APBA p486
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 18: 9-14
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” 13But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” 14I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.’
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rev'd Sandra
This parable is linked to the previous one. The parable of the persevering widow teaches the value of importunity in prayer. However the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector teaches the spirit which should pervade our prayers. True prayer is always offered to God and to God alone. The Pharisee was really giving himself a testimonial before God.
His whole attitude was not untypical of the worst attributes in Pharisaism. There is a recorded prayer of a certain Rabbi which says “I thank Thee, O Lord my God, that thou hast put my part with those who sit in the Academy, and not with those who sit at the street corners. For I rise early, and they rise early; I rise to the words of the law and they to vain things. I labour and they labour; I labour and receive a reward and they labour and receive no reward. I run and they run; I run to the life of the world to come, and they to the pit of destruction.’ And it is on record that Rabbi Simeon ben Jocai once said ‘If there are only two righteous men in the world, I and my son are these two; if there is only one, I am he!’ The Pharisee in the parable did not really go to pray – he went to inform God how good he was.
In comparison the tax collector stood far off and would not even lift his eyes to God he felt so unworthy and aware of his short-comings. Yet it is this humble and heart-broken prayer before the Lord that won him absolution and acceptance before God.
FINAL PRAYER: APBA p.119
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy name,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.