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The Marian Fathers present this Lenten devotional series to help you prepare to receive graces on Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday.

Readings: Is 58:9B-14; Ps 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; Lk 5:27-32
Diary: 70, 77, 91

Then the Lord will guide you always. — Is 58:11

The 1988 movie "Stand and Deliver" is based on a true story about Jaime Escalante, a high school math teacher who inspired underprivileged students to dedicate their summer to studying advanced mathematics.

This teacher could have done well-helping college-bound students. He knew, however, where he was most needed. Other faculty and administrators discouraged him. They had low expectations of the students who were performing far below their grade level, and nobody — not even the students themselves — saw college as a possibility for them. When the students passed the AP calculus test, they were accused of cheating and had to retake the test to prove themselves. Due to the extreme commitment needed from them, only a handful of students stayed in the class to the end.

In today's Gospel reading, the Pharisees and scribes have low expectations of the tax collector and other "sinners." They even discourage Jesus from guiding them. Despite their criticism, Jesus continues ministering to those who needed Him most. Levi, the tax collector, left "everything behind" to wholeheartedly follow Jesus.

We know we're sinners. We know we need Jesus' mercy. The question is how committed are we to following the Teacher?

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your mercy on me, a sinner. May I follow You with my whole heart and soul.

Missed a day? See previous "From Ashes to Mercy" daily meditations.

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