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.
The Blue Marble NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans, December 7, 1972
We human persons are so small, frail, weak, and fragile. But filled with God’s Holy Spirit, we have the choice to be spacious in love, unbreakable in generosity, powerful in compassion, and invincible in forgiveness.
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you set in place — What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him? Psalm 8:4-5
Rembrandt (1606-1669) The Three Crosses drypoint and burin on paper (III/IV), 1653 Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum
The other [criminal said], “We have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:41-43
It is never too late to take responsibility for my actions, to turn to the Lord and ask for a chance to start again.
Resentment, fear, and the desire for retribution are heavy burdens. I would like to let them go, even though the pain of mistreatment goes deep.
Today I will hear and practice what the Lord asks of me: to love, bless, and pray for the people I consider my enemies and all those who have hurt me. Then may the burdens I carry be dissolved into the light of Love and Truth.
Jesus said to his disciples: “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:28
Richard Dadd (British, 1817 – 1886) Mercy: David Spareth Saul’s Life oil on canvas, 1854 Getty Center
A worldwide human family that reflects love and harmony…
…is only possible if I open my heart today and treat myself and all people with compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. It is only possible when I stop comparing myself to others and follow the Way of unconditional love.
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another. Colossians 3:12-13a