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Today's Gospel + short theological explanation

Saturday 3rd of Lent

Gospel text (Lk 18,9-14): Jesus told another parable to some per¬sons fully convinced of their own righteous¬ness, who looked down on others: «Two men went up to the Temple to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by him¬self and said: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people (…). In the meantime the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast saying: ‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner’. I tell you, when this man went down to his house, he had been set right with God, but not the other (…)».

"Ethos" (human nature) and "grace"

EDITORIAL TEAM evangeli.net (based on texts by Benedict XVI) (Città del Vaticano, Vatican)

Today, Jesus Christ graphically illustrates the relationship between "ethos" (personality or human nature) and "grace". The Pharisee brags about his many virtues; the publican acknowledges his sins, he knows that he cannot boast before God and, conscious of his guilt, he pleads for the grace. Does it mean that one stands for the "ethos" while the other speaks for the grace without "ethos" or against "ethos"?

Actually, they are just two different ways of placing ourselves before God and before ourselves. One does not even look at God, but only to himself; the other one sees himself in relation to God, thereby opening his eyes to himself (he knows he needs God and that he has to live by His goodness). The "ethos" is not denied; it is only liberated from the narrowness of moralism and placed in the context of the relationship of love with God.

—The grace I implore does not exempt me from the "ethos": I need God, and thanks to his goodness, I can move towards Goodness.