HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK OF LENT.
THEME: A CONTRITE HEART HE WILL NOT DESPISE.
BY: Fr Francis Onwunali.
The prayers and sacrifices we make to God mean nothing to him if they do not spring from a heart of love for God and for one’s neighbor. How can we expect God to hear our prayers if we do not approach him with humility and with a contrite heart that seeks mercy and forgiveness? This is the core message of today’s liturgy.
The Lord speaking through the words of the Psalmist in our liturgy yesterday said: I am the Lord your God; listen to my warning (Ps. 81: 8). Happily today, in the first reading (Hosea 5: 15-6: 6) the Israelites of Hosea’s time and hopefully, we, in our own time are saying: “Come, let us return to the Lord”, in acknowledgement of our way-wardness due to sin. The Lord wants this rekindled love not to be like morning cloud or dew that dissipates easily, rather love that is grounded in the knowledge of God. It is of certainty that we will be healed, our wounds, bandaged, if we sincerely return to God in repentance. Is anything holding you back?
Jesus, in the gospel (Luke 18: 9-14), shuns the pride of the Pharisee and extols the humility of the tax collector when both were involved in prayer. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted”.
Dear friends, “humility” in the words of *Charles* *D’Sousa* “leads to strength and not to weakness. It is the highest form of self-respect to admit mistakes and to make amends for them”. How humble am I in acknowledging my sins and ready to make amends? Am I like the Pharisee or the tax collector? Loquacity in prayer often distracts the mind and leads to phantasy, whereas brevity, makes for concentration. Do not attempt to talk too much or use sophisticated words when you pray lest your mind be distracted in searching for words.
I pray as we journey in life today, we will in our prayer, be as simple as the Publican with one word that propitiated God or the one cry of faith that saved the repentant thief on the cross. In our time of difficulty and need, let us learn to ask with tears, seek with obedience and knock with patience (cf. Matt. 7:7). Let our hearts be torn in repentance and approach God with the depth of our being. May our prayers and heart’s desires today find favour in God’s sight. Have a humble prayer-full day!
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