On October 27th, we celebrated Sunday 30, in Ordinary Time – Year C
Humility stood out in our Readings (Sir 35: 12-14; Ps 34; 2 Tim 4:6-8, 16-18; Lk 18: 9-14).
In the First Reading, Sirach teaches us that: “The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds to reach God the Most High.”
Responsorial Psalm 34, teaches us that “The humble will be heard by God and be glad.”
In the Second Reading, Saint Paul, in the letter to Timothy, describes himself as a humble servant of God, ready to pour out his life as a libation, for the love of Christ. The same Saint Paul in his letter to the Philippians 3:8 confesses: “I’d rather lose everything that I may gain the friendship of Jesus Christ my Lord.” This is what humility looks like.
In the Gospel, St. Luke tells a parable of two people who went to the Temple to pray; one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The tax collector’s prayer pleased God because God found it honest, sincere, and humble. As for the Pharisee, not so much, since he said a prideful and self-praising prayer only to himself.
The Pharisee and the Publican, baroque fresco in Ottobeuren Basilica.
How often have we let life - changing opportunities slip away, simply because pride got in the way? Once our pride gets in the way, we become blind of our many faults, inadequacies, and limitations. When pride gets in the way: a good job is lost; a priceless friendship is lost; a beautiful marriage is lost; students drop out of school before graduation; families become estranged, a break-through counselling is foregone, and so forth.
And, hear this: when pride gets in the way, many Catholics keep pushing away an opportunity of a life time, to go to confession. No matter how messy one’s life might feel, one could be only one good confession away from having one’s life back. It takes our humility.
Pope Francis keeps on reminding us that those confessional rooms are not ‘torture chambers’, but rather, beautiful places of encounter with the God compassion and mercy.
May we be encouraged by the humility of the tax collector, find the courage to bring our imperfections before the Lord, and be renewed by the power of God’s healing and saving grace.
As Saint Paul testifies: “When I am weak, I am strong because God’s is sufficient for me” (2 Cor 12:10),