John Everett Millais (1829-1896) The Pharisee and the Publican, 1864 The Tate
Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.
What a hook! I want to find out if I am one of those to whom Jesus is addressing this parable.
And yes: often I am the self-righteous one who compares myself favorably to others and wonders why others don’t act, think, and speak as I do.
But now and again I become aware of my arrogance and face my failures, weaknesses, and woundedness. In these moments of truth, I dare to ask God’s mercy so that I may instead act, think, and speak with the mind and heart of Jesus Christ.
John Everett Millais (1829-1896) The Unjust Judge and the Importunate Widow Wood engraving; proof on India paper, 1864 Metropolitan Museum of Art
[Jesus said,] “I tell you, God will see to it that justice is done.” Luke 18:8a
Years ago, I had the experience of being treated unjustly at a job. I demanded my rights to the point of exhaustion and illness. It took months of persistence — as well as support and advice from wiser and more knowledgeable people than I — to get an outcome that served me. A year later, I heard that a number of other women at that workplace had resigned because of being treated similarly. Only then was the true problem addressed.
It is not easy to be the one to challenge injustice, but here we are: God’s instruments of justice in a world that is heavy with injustice. We must not be indifferent to the oppression, discrimination, and suffering in our world, but instead ask God for the courage to promote change.
James Tissot (1836-1902) Guérison de dix lépreux opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper between 1886 and 1894 Brooklyn Museum
He fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. Luke 11:16a
Sometimes I just have to fall on my knees and say thank you to the Lord—for getting me through another day, for friends who encourage me, for family that rallies round in hard times, for unexpected kindness from strangers, for a beautiful day.
It is God’s grace that blesses me with such abundance, and God’s grace that prompts my gratitude. May I listen to the Spirit’s call to give thanks in all ways and at all times.
For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. Habakkuk 2:3
Despite the grief of living in a world where injustice, indifference, and greed seem to hold sway, our efforts to treat others with respect, share our resources, and speak out against prejudice and cruelty help to build God’s vision of love and unity among all people everywhere.
With just the tiniest bit of faith that the God of Love and Compassion is present and accessible in every moment — guiding us, encouraging us — we continue to play an active role as a part of the vision.