Saturday of the Third Week of Lent ‘a’
I must admit that often I like to justify my bad actions and my sins. For example, when I thought badly about another person, then I quickly say to myself -- yes, but he provoked me. Or when I didn’t say my evening prayer and then I think -- yes, but I was so tired after this long and busy day. Excuses, justifications -- we all make them at times. I often hear that in confession: I did commit that sin, but… I swore, only because she made me; I lied, because I couldn’t say the truth; I cheated, only because he cheated too; I didn’t go to church on Sunday, because I wasn’t feeling too well; I ate meat on Friday during Lent, because I forgot… Guess what? God does not need our excuses; He only wants you and me to admit our sinfulness and ask for forgiveness. That’s it. No need of telling Him why -- He knows why. He just wants us to humbly ask for His mercy. In the parable from today’s Gospel, we learn that the one who tried to justify himself wasn’t justified by God, and the one who didn’t justify himself, went home justified. “But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” O God be merciful on me, because I have sinned. That’s it; no excuses needed.