“But the tax collector stood off to a distance, and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’” - Lk 18:13
Things are not always as they seem. I have the privilege of working with children with special needs and today’s gospel reminds me of a story this loving mother shared with me. She was at the supermarket with her son, who has moderate to severe autism, when he had a sensory meltdown. She did her best to retrain him due to his lack of personal safety and to her surprise; she was approached by a police officer a few minutes later. Another parent has called the law enforcer thinking that she was abusing her son. Initially, this incident made her quite upset and even more insecure about being a parent. Then she realized that she could only do the best that she could and look to God to fill in the gaps.
Sometimes we are dealt particular cards for a reason and we must make the best of it. We do
not choose our family or upbringing. Well-behaved children do not necessarily reflect good
parenting. Understanding children’s needs is far more effective than just instilling fear in them to follow the rules. Jesus teaches us to look past the exterior, social expectations we see with our eyes, and realize the deeper, interior movements we feel in our hearts. Being a Pharisee does not automatically gain favor with God, one must still humble himself/herself before God. It does not matter how society perceives us, but rather what dwells in our heart and how much we are willing to open ourselves to seek God’s mercy.
Loving God, help me embrace the grace of humility and show me where I lack in mercy and forgiveness to others, that I may learn to spread Your love all around me, especially to those who need it most.
reflected by Valerie Trinh