We spin all sorts of webs. The Readings today offer a look at how we as humans think so completely differently than God. Hosea 5 has the people of Ephraim and Judah acknowledging their guilt and wanting to return to the Lord who will heal them. The Lord responds by remarking that their love is like a morning cloud, like dew that goes away early. God desires our steadfast love, not a fleeting love. God wants a contrite heart as Psalm 51 says. The Gospel has two men in the temple and we see these two other readings dovetailing–one man with his puffed-up pride and the other standing vulnerable before God, heart of contrition offered. Which are we?
I have often prayed an adaptation of the tax collector’s prayer: Jesus, be merciful to me, your beloved daughter. I stand in so much need of mercy.With that in mind, I have booked a flight to Barcelona, as another pilgrimage, with one of the goals being to walk through one of the seven official doors of mercy this year. I am not looking for a cure on this trip, but I am seeking healing, the kind that comes with a contrite heart. I will leave after Easter, wrapped in the knowledge of the joy that Christ is Risen. This Year of Mercy can afford special graces and I want to be open to receive them. I do not want to spin any webs. I want to leave open to what might be revealed and return with an inner fortitude to complete this journey.
These last weeks of Lent, I have my eyes on mercy. I think there may be some lessons for me on this topic.
Is your love for God steadfast or fleeting?
Which of the two men in parable do you resemble most?
Have mercy on me, Jesus, your beloved daughter, who loves you with a steadfast heart. Amen.