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
Love requires humility, not superiority. Love is not an act of aggression but a daily act of hospitality and welcome, the opening of our hearts and souls to the love of God and sharing love with others. There is no conflict of having Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day collide on our calendar. They are two parts of the same faithfulness. We honor those we love, who have given us their love. We humbly honor the love we have been given by the loving Creator, by taking time to reflect and understand deeply the sacrifice made for us.
Jesus points out to his disciples how we are to live (and not live). Humility is a practice that seems lost in our present day, yet is so necessary for joyous and abundant life. Humility is neither self-abuse nor does it require us to be self effacing. Rather, we are invited to deep gratitude for the love we have been given, for the loving sacrifices made for us, for this life which is showered with love we really cannot deserve. God loved us before we understood love, and will love us through and beyond this life.
Today, I ask God to help me celebrate the amazing loves in my life by being humble and grateful every moment. May we all move into this season of Lent, by living every day as Valentine's Day. showering all the people in our lives with love that has no end.