It is 30th March 2019. The readings are from Hosea 5:15-6:1-6; and the Gospel from Luke 18:9-14. As we come to the end of the third week of the Lent, the Lord invites us through the readings to acknowledge our sins and unpretentiously repent. Prayer with repentance is the sacrifice pleased to the Lord. God is not interested in the emotional outburst and uncontrollable expressions of feelings in our worship that give us the trance and tranquillity we see for. God looks for true repentance that is noticeable in our life by the community and by the people around. When our prayers are only for gaining material affluence then it remains very shallow and sensational? The change is inevitable. Either we must change our lives spontaneously or we will be cornered by the voice of God in our conscience to repent. Is it easy for us to let go sins? Or are we freely come closer to God. In the first reading, through the prophet Hosea, God questions our attitude towards God. “Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes away early. For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:4,6). The flames of God’s anger are quenched with the showers of prayers. Our goals and motives in prayer need not shrink into material hope rather it must culminate in steadfast love for God. Our loyalty to God is the one that needs to be aspired for in prayer. It is our personal repentance that carries our prayers to God like an incense. Our prayer must not be merely fulfilling rituals and religious duty rather it needs to be the expression of our unwavering love for the Lord and the care for the suffering humanity. Let us not make our prayer a mockery without repentance. Our change of heart is to be seen in the way we pray. The awareness of God’s presence and due acknowledgement God’s intervention in every minute details of our life are indeed the prayer that please God and emerges out of true repentance. The responsorial Psalm praises, “What I want is Love, not sacrifice.” (Hos.6:6). The Gospel presents us with the two personalities of prayerful persons or types or styles of prayer. One pleases God while the another is ignored by God. We all go to church to pray. Yet, some of us behave like the Samaritan and some others display the arrogance like Pharisee. Some of us return home with the blessings of God while many of us come home hurt, upset cursing God and the Church. We are all called to be honest with God. We all have a balance sheet of our life to be submitted to God in our prayer. It is a personal submission to God alone. We are expected to compare our life and faith with the other. We are not going to church to impress anyone rather to express our gratitude and humility to God. More we become and display the self-righteous attitudes and behave in the presence of God, we become insincere, insecure, indebted before God. Our genuine repentance is in our humility and contrition of heart. In every one of us, there is a Pharisee and there is a Samaritan while we approach God. Which is the one emerges usually in our life as we approach God? May we come closer to God through our repentance expressed in prayer. May you have a good day. May God bless you.

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