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Lent calendar 9 March

Ochuroi (right), a Maasai herder, explains the problems he faces because of drought as staff from a local organisation who are supporting his community listen.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.

Luke 18:14

How much easier it is to spot the faults of others than our own! The Pharisee congratulates himself on being a model citizen, never straying from the letter of the law.

What he doesn’t realise is that despite following all the rules, he has forgotten the most important thing: love. Love of God, and of his neighbour.

In today’s first reading, from Hosea, the Lord says: “What I want is love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts.”

Rigidly following rules can lead us to indifference towards others, or a feeling of superiority over those whose situation in life makes it impossible to meet the same standards.

We may come to believe in our own brilliance, and conversely the ineptitude of others, without taking into account the power and the privilege which we hold. We can become trapped in our pride and miss out on opportunities to interact with and learn from others.

The tax collector, on the other hand, humbly seeks God’s forgiveness, all too aware of what he has done wrong. He recognises his need for God’s mercy in his life, he seeks and receives God’s love. There is much the Pharisee could learn from him.

Let us all then try to let go of the need to compare ourselves with others. Instead, let us try to listen and to understand one another.

Let us focus not just on following the rules, but on being open to the transformation that God’s love can work in our hearts.


God of all goodness, be merciful to us. Focus our attention on correcting our own faults, rather than criticising those of others. Lead us to live a life of love, transformed by you and one another. Amen.


Join us in prayer that God’s transforming power may work through our lives.

God's transforming power

A prayer which asks for God's power to transform our lives, so we can commit afresh to God's work of compassion and love.