Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October 23, 2016 - The Publican and the Sinner

The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C

Reading I:  Sirach 35:12-18
Response: Psalm 34
Reading II: 2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 16-18
Gospel: Luke 18: 9-14

In today’s Gospel we are reminded of the correct attitude when we pray. Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican to teach us.

As one views that picture above, one can note the attitude of the Pharisee by his posture, as well as his words. He stands looking toward heaven as he reminds God of all his virtues. His prayer is one of boasting rather than of humble truth. He doesn’t recognize his own sinfulness. Also, he sees himself as superior to others.

On the other hand, we have the publican in a posture of humble acknowledgement of his human weaknesses. He pleads, “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” In the first reading from Sirach, we hear: “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds.”

Jesus emphasizes the fact that the publican’s prayer will be heard by the Father. The Pharisee’s “so called” prayer was simply a litany of praise to himself.

Often we recognize faults in others, but fail to recognize our own shortcomings. Sometimes, the things that bother us in another are qualities we have ourselves. Let us extend mercy to our brothers and sisters as the Lord lavishes his mercy on us.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sr. Annette,
    I enjoyed reading your blog particularly regarding how blinded we are to our own faults. I remember a friend pointing out to me that the reason I could recognize the faults I was complaining about in another person was because I, too, possessed them. Wow, that really felt awful! But as I sat with that suggestion for a while, I saw that it was true. Now when I get annoyed at someone’s behavior, I remind myself that I am that way as well – just not acting it out at the moment. This little exercise helps me to be more patient and loving toward others.
    The Pharisee in today’s gospel is spiritually blind. The principles he teaches remain in his head and do not reach his heart. He voices a spiritual superiority in that he observes in the strictest manner the ordinances of the law and pays his tithes but he doesn’t have a loving relationship with God.
    The Publican, on the other hand, is very humble; his prayer is simple and sincere. He acknowledges his sin and asks forgiveness. Jesus tells us that this man’s prayer finds favor with God and he went home justified.
    God is so very merciful and loving toward us in spite of our sinfulness. We need only ask for forgiveness with an open, sincere heart and we obtain forgiveness and strengthen our relationship with the Lord.