In the second week of the four-week preparation for Lent, the Church wisely presents the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee. From the Gospel text, it should be noted that both the Pharisee and the tax collector are in the temple. The Pharisee, comparing himself with other people, emphasizes himself and his observance of customs, rites and rituals. Whereas the publican is interested in repentance, that is, in reforming his life.

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This parable is about everyone – about me and about you – because we are all Pharisees to some extent, and Jesus Christ says to become like the tax collector – to admit that we can be wrong. Jesus invites us to repent and says: “Follow me”, which means to change yourself and your life. That’s exactly what the tax collector did. From the Gospel, we can assume that he knew exactly what he was sorry for. The Pharisee presented only his good qualities.

We can often pray, “Lord, have mercy, forgive me,” but we don’t seem to know or acknowledge our sins. We don’t even think about it, we just classify our sins or bad deeds in a file or folder under the names “sins”, “sinner”, “misdeed”. However, do we know exactly what we are sorry for when we say “Lord, have mercy” or are they just words that do not change anything in our lives, including our  internal disposition.

It is worth remembering that when we ask for mercy, we ask for healing and healing with healing love. When we cry out, “Lord, have mercy,” we are asking for love that will gradually change us, heal us, and ultimately make us whole.

Today, in the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee, Jesus Christ invites us to follow Him, let go of control over our lives, review our priorities and focus on the Eternal Kingdom. Amen.