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HUMILITY AND GOD’S MERCY

Read­ing Time: 2 minutes

Prologue

This Sunday Gos­pel is still on pray­er but from a dif­fer­ent per­spect­ive. If Luke 18:1–8 is on the con­stancy of pray­er, 18:9–14 emphas­ises on how to pray and on how not to pray. The implic­a­tion is that if a per­son prays accord­ingly, his or her peti­tion stands the chance of being answered, depend­ing on what God decides. But if one prays dis­reg­ard­ing the laid down prin­ciples and guidelines, then, his or her pray­ers will nev­er find favour before God. A prac­tic­al demon­stra­tion of this is the con­clu­sion of the par­able. In Luke 18:14, Jesus con­cludes the par­able by under­lin­ing that while the tax col­lect­or went home jus­ti­fied, spir­itu­ally ful­filled, the Phar­isee equally went home but unjus­ti­fied and worse than he came to the house of God. The ugly effect of pride. The reward for pride.

He went home justified

The Pub­lic­an went down to his home jus­ti­fied rather than the Phar­isee; for all who exalt them­selves will be humbled, but all who humble them­selves will be exal­ted” (Luke 18:14). As the psalm­ist observes, this poor man called and the Lord heard him (cf. Respon­sori­al psalm). The indic­a­tion giv­en by Luke in 18:14a con­cern­ing the con­di­tion of the Phar­isee and the tax col­lect­or after pray­ing is very import­ant. While the former went home worse than he came, the lat­ter went home bet­ter than he came, because he went home jus­ti­fied (Greek: ded­ikaiō­menos, from dikaioō). Why? The Greek term dika­oō means jus­ti­fy, vin­dic­ate, treat as just. But in the pass­ive sense (as in Luke 18:14a) and as regards people it means: be acquit­ted, be pro­nounced and treated as right­eous, and in the theo­lo­gic­al sense, it means to be jus­ti­fied. That is, to receive the divine gift of justice/justification (Greek: dikaiosunē). With just six words (accord­ing to the Greek text) and espe­cially, with and due to his humble atti­tude, the Pub­lic­an was acquit­ted, pro­nounced and treated as right­eous and jus­ti­fied by God.

Epilogue

Those who use their busi­ness, pro­fes­sion, voca­tion or pos­i­tion to defraud oth­ers and com­mit all sort of crime should re-exam­ine their actions. Do not think you can get away with it with a simple “O God have mercy on me a sin­ner.” The Pub­lic­an repen­ted and was jus­ti­fied, but that is not all. He must bring the jus­ti­fic­a­tion to com­ple­tion by doing like Zac­chaeus in return­ing the excess money he extor­ted from people. The Lord is mer­ci­ful, yes, but that is after you must have sin­cerely repen­ted and repaired every dam­age you have caused. We should not for­get that God’s mercy does not over­rule justice. In fact, God is kind and mer­ci­ful because God is just. In his infin­ite love and mercy, God pun­ishes the sin­ner and rewards the right­eous. Again, avoid emer­gency or last-minute repentance.

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPIES OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE:
SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vols. I‑II-III)!! The reflec­tion for the 30th Sunday is found in
The Word of Life, vol. III, pages 586–601. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo
or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com
or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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