Advent Day 18: Read: Luke 18
Persistence: firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition
The reading today is all about persistence. I admit that I am tempted to give up when opposition hits. I draw conclusions like the fox in Aesop’s fable The Fox and the Grapes.
On the contrary, Jesus pushes us to persist even when the odds seem to be stacked against us. Especially noteworthy today are verses 9-14: Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector. Too often, I stand afar off and look with disdain toward others and beat my chest, thanking God that I am not a sinner. When, in reality, I am both a sinner and a saint.
To regularly recall the words of the tax collector, “Oh God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner,” is a far better place to live. Knowing I am a sinner and yet deeply loved by God enables me to deeply love others in spite of their sinfulness. (See Daily Reads 12.17.2019 for more on forgiveness.)
Today, when you are tempted to give up like the fox, remember that you are deeply loved and cherished. Stand under the waterfall of God’s mercy and become a conduit of his love! (Richard Rohr, Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent.)