Daily Reflection
March 24th, 2001
Maureen McCann Waldron
The Collaborative Ministry Office
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Hosea 6:1-6
Psalms 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21
Luke 18:9-14

A very wise Jesuit priest once listened to me talk about how I pray and asked me, “Where is the focus of your prayer – on you or on God?”  I realized that I often prayed for what I wanted from God but rarely prayed to find out what God wanted from me.  My focus was on solving my own problems rather than asking how I could serve God, but that question helped me to refocus my prayers, at least for the moment.

Today’s gospel is much the same lesson:  two men are praying in the temple.  The Pharisee in his prayer spends most of his time congratulating himself for being better than everyone else.  The other man, a tax collector, is so humbled before God that he can say nothing more than, “Be merciful to me, a sinner.”  Which one am I most like?  I squirm uncomfortably at this question.

Do I live my life as someone who is focused on God and others or is my main vision in life directed on my needs and my own happiness?  I can sense it in my life when I move away from the God-centered life.  Things are out of balance.  I am aware of every annoyance of my husband, I have little patience with my kids and mostly I am aware of ME and how everyone else has an impact on me. 

Today in my Lenten journey, I want to try not to be centered on myself.  Today I want to trade places in the temple.  I want to take off the Pharisee’s flashy robes of my own arrogance and embrace the humility of the tax collector.  I don’t want to make myself the center of my day. 

This feels like an impossible task some days and my first instinct is to wonder how I can ever accomplish it alone.  Then I remember the tax collector in the temple, bow my head and ask for help. 

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