Gospel Reflection for the 30th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – October 27th 2013
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being virtuous and despised everyone else,
‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, “I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.”
The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner”.
This man, I tell you, went home again at rights with God; the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’
This is one of these stories of people who didn’t like each other, and brought the worst out of each other. A Pharisee was strict on religion, and a taxman was a greedy sinner. Each made the other feel awful about themselves, especially before God.
The Pharisee’s Boast
The Pharisee started boasting about his religious fervent observance. The taxman just swallowed his prejudice and admitted to God that he was a sinner. The Pharisee would look good in any religious line-up, and the taxman would be in the corner of the line-up, hoping nobody would see him.
Bur he knew who he was before God; he admitted his weakness. The Pharisee pretended religious fervour and looked down on the taxman, one of God’s favourites.
Jesus comments on the story which everyone would recognise, and we recognise ourselves in both people: the proud and arrogant person at times, and at other times, the one who feels a total failure.
High in God’s Sight
He just says – in admitting who you are, you are high in the sight of God and high at God’s table.
Just to be oneself before God can be difficult. Many gospel stories are about this reality. We need to give those few silent moments each day to an awareness of being loved by God. In that we are humbled, that one so good as God could love us so totally, and so we are exalted.
We are gifted by God’s grace and if we can enjoy our identity as a child of God we will find happiness in life.
Lord teach me to know you more, to love you more and serve you faithfully in my life.
Donal Neary SJ