Luke 18: 9-14
The Roman philosopher Philo wrote: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
Lent is described many ways: a season of joy, a season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, a clearing season. Another way to live the mystery of this time is as a season of kindness. When we remember the great loving kindness of God in sending Jesus to us, as we remember Jesus’ countless acts of love and kindness, we get further in touch with how God wants us to live.
The parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee reminds us of our daily choices. Few words of Jesus chill me as much as his description of all of us at times: "….those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else." OK, Lord, maybe I don’t despise others, but look down on them or think them weak? Jesus, as always, gets at our motivation, our inner being before God and others. Comparisons are odious, as the old Romans said. God asks us simply during this holy season, to become like Him, kind and merciful to all.
We come to know the Lord (first reading) by being kind in thought, word and deed. Then, our "random acts of kindness" are recognized as deeds of love, as God speaks through Hosea:" For it is love that I desire and not sacrifice."
Finally, the preacher and composer Frederick W. Faber wrote: "Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence or learning." Make us kind, Lord!
Fr. Bob Bovenzi, C.P. is stationed in Houston, Texas.