Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14
Humbled and Exalted
The busy ones rush by today
on streets the homeless unseen
ignoring the humanity that is theirs
rushing to put it all compassion aside.
The poor and the sidelined know
too well their humanity and fraility
too well they know their rejection
too little do they see of kindness and love.
The coddled and cosseted think themselves
protected from every storm and challenge
they dress and exercise in absolute comfort
thinking they know love and kindness.
The storms of life teach us humility
the winds and rain eat into our flesh
we know we are dust when exposed
to the terrors of failure night and day.
May we this Lent be broken open
to our simplest and most vulnerable selves
may we turn and see our hurting neighbor
in so doing see the face of love from God.