Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
Octomber 28, A.D. 2007
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
Psalm 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Ever hear that song "Lord, it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way!"
We always got a chuckle out of it, the way we do with any bold-faced boasters among our friends.
The Pharisee in today's Gospel was like the man in that song. He wasn't really praying to God, but merely talking to himself about all his virtues. At the same time, he was guilty of rash judging that poor tax-collector at the rear of the Temple who didn't even dare raise his eyes to heaven as he begged forgiveness for all his sins. The Pharisee's prayer didn't impress the Lord very much. In fact, he didn't even return home justified.
On the other hand, the tax collector's prayer earned him forgiveness from God. Why? Not because of his offenses, but because he honestly acknowledged them and humbly repented.
God loves us when we pray with humility. We could even say that humility is the key to God's heart, a sure guarantee to a favorable reply. In our first reading today, the Book of Sirach teaches the same thing. Humility is the beginning of wisdom. A humble heart puts us on the level of the poor and needy to whom God always bends an ear. Of course, when we pray, we must not play games with God. We must really mean what we say when we acknowledge our sins and imperfections. Now that shouldn't be difficult!
St. Paul's words to Timothy in the second reading are so very beautiful. "I have competed well, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Some would ask, "Why is Paul's prayer any different from that of the proud Pharisee?" The difference is the humility in Paul and the complete lack of it in the other. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you and I, in the sunset of our lives, could justly pray as Paul did? A good daily dose of humility added to our prayer can make that possible.
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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