Gospel Reflection Oct 23 – Fr. Lynch
Sunday, October 23
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 18: 9-14
Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well…hear it again. Don’t judge a book by its cover. In life and as a priest I have experienced this in so many facets of ministry. In today’s Gospel, Jesus addresses those in the crowd who were convinced of their own righteousness. He tells the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.
The Pharisee (fair-you-see) checked all the boxes. He did what he was supposed to do in life and followed the rules. He knew a lot and therefore presumed that he was far better than those who struggled to even come close to what he thought he had accomplished. And the icing on the cake was that he thought he was better than everyone else. He was blinded by his pride and ego. Does that sound familiar? It does to me, maybe too familiar.
The tax collector was no one’s favorite. He wasn’t perfect, far from it. As a matter of fact, he was hated, despised, cursed upon, and viewed worse than a criminal, yet he saw what he was lacking in himself and begged for God’s mercy.
The moral of the parable is if we think we got it in life, we really don’t. If we admit we do not have it and ask God, we get it, and not by our own merit but by the grace of Jesus. A self-righteous person caught up in their own self-righteousness ought never be corrected. A struggling sinner, however, (who is open and desperate for God’s grace, love, and mercy) gets it without realizing it, by abandoning self and begging for God’s help.
May our vailed Pride and EGO’s (Easing God Out) be removed, so that we can truly experience God’s help in the Love of God, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the mercy of Jesus in this life and the life to come! May we receive the Reconciliation and Eucharistic strength needed in life for there is always work to be done in building the Kingdom of God. St. Brigid of Kildare…Pray for us!!!
Father Tim Lynch