Posted by: livingscripture | October 24, 2010

Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day 

O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity – greedy, dishonest, adulterous…

    Luke 18: 11               

How should we live this Word 

The Pharisee in today’s Gospel bases his relationship with God on comparing himself to others, who are all sinners according to him.  How easy it is to fall into this kind of reasoning in order to feel that I am just because I do not live, do not act like others.  In fact, I do what the law requires of me.  The Pharisee begins his prayer by thanking God but then continues in a monologue of self-complacency, almost as though he is praying to himself.  He does not enter into dialogue with the Other. 

Through the behavior of the Pharisee and the Publican, Jesus makes us see that what counts before God is purity of heart and the sincerity that leads us to a true relationship of communion with Him.  In fact, the Publican reveals himself to be an upright person, acknowledging the reality of his situation as a sinner and humbly expressing his dependence on God, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”  God hears his humble prayer and he returns to his home justified.                                                             

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I will reflect on this parable to discern the quality of my prayer.  Do I find something of the Pharisee in myself?  Do I perceive the attitude of the Publican in myself? 

 Lord, You see my heart.  You know that I love You.  Help me to understand every more fully that I am a sinner and need Your mercy.  Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner! 

The voice of Henri Nouwen, Master of the Spiritual Life

When our heart belongs to God, the world and its powers cannot steal it from us.  When God becomes the Lord of our heart, our basic alienation is finally conquered, and we can pray with the psalmist, “You created me and knit me in my mother’s womb.  I praise You because You have made me like a prodigy.  Your works are marvellous.  You know me in my depths.”


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