The Easter Triduum fast approaches. It is a time in which we remember Christ embracing the cross for the love of us, and one in which we joyfully celebrate his triumphant resurrection, which is the source of all our hope. But it is also a time of remembering what Christ saved us from, namely, our sins. Today, I want to reflect briefly on how humble repentance frees us from sin.
While many would deny it, it is a fact that we are all desperately sick with sin. It eats away at our souls like the deadly Ebola virus, and unchecked, it will inevitably lead to our spiritual death. How then do we find healing? How then are we made whole? The remedy is simple: Repentance. And there is no better illustration of repentance than the parable of the Pharisee and the publican:
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The Spirit of the Pharisee
How subtle is Pharisaism. How easy it is to scorn others and hold them in contempt. How natural for us to think that we