The Gospel Today
Saturday of the Third Week of Lent
Lk 18: 9-14
Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week,
and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at 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.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Reflection (Sem. Jul Elden D. Nuique)
In 2007, our family trade swiftly incurred a huge debt. We were into exports and the peso-dollar exchange rates quickly adjusted from 50:1 to 45:1. The sales made by the prices we gave our foreign clients instantly plunged from profit to loss. Added to that was our abrupt inability to pay off due obligations to our creditors and suppliers. Because of that unforeseen crisis, we reviewed our business plan and, against popular industry sentiment, decided that we still wanted to continue operations beyond that year; we had to settle our present woes and make the most of our situation. We still fulfilled our sales contract with our clients and shipped all their purchases. We also met with our employees and subcontractors and finalized an agreement that allowed us to weather the fiscal storms that year. We also restructured our bank debts, which allowed us to work through our other commitments. The main obstacle was begging our suppliers to get on our side; their other clients were facing similar problems to ours and, just like us, were now asking huge favors to defer payments.
Prayer was our most powerful aid during that calamity. We stormed Heaven with petitions day and night. We put our faith in a God we could not see with our eyes, yet we knew with our hearts. We believed that He would justify us in our time of need and with the purity of our intention – we wanted to continue operations so that our employees would continue to have work. Just like the tax collector in today’s Gospel, God justified us and upheld us in our humility. Our business continued to operate despite snowballing challenges. We realized that all good things come from God and that no amount of hard work or skill would avert disaster. As the saying went, “Work as if everything depended on you, pray as if everything depended on God.”