It is 5th March 2016. The readings are from Hosea 5:15-6:6; and the Gospel from Luke 18:9-14. The first reading encourages us to return to the Lord with the sincerity of heart not with superficiality. Israel was returning to the Lord for gaining material benefits. God’s nation forgot the benefits enjoyed being faithful to the Lord. Our knowledge of God has to lead us to acknowledge God in all we do and say. It is to have an awareness of lovingly merciful God. All the rituals are good in so far as there is love in our hearts. It is God who put us through in the situation and so God alone can set us free. “God has torn us to pieces, but God will heal us; God has injured us but God will bind up our wounds.” (Hos.5:1). A true penance is to have a change of heart. A change of liturgy does not attract God whereas our sincere change of lives does. The responsorial Psalm teaches us: “What I want is Love, not sacrifice. The Gospel seriously warns us about our attitude before God. Two persons went to pray. One went to advertise his good things while another went to advance in spiritual life. We must not pretend to be good more than God in God’s own presence. Bragging about ourselves is the outward expression of pride and self-righteousness. Our prayers must lead us to submit ourselves in humility. We need to recognise God’s mercy and to be grateful for all that God has done. If at all any good we have done, it is just because of our faith in God. Let us try our very best not to praise ourselves in the presence of God. Honesty and humility are the basic virtues in communicating with God. Let us repeat the prayer of the tax collector as many times as we can: “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” (Lk.18:13). May you have a good day.

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