October 24, 2010: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” (Luke 18:10-13)
Whose prayer did God hear, do you suppose? In telling this parable, Jesus points out the prayerfulness of the tax collector. The Pharisee wasn’t really praying at all; he was just bragging about his good deeds. He had no humility. The tax collector, on the other hand, was well aware of his sinfulness and knew who he was in relationship to God. We should all stand in humility before God. No matter who we are, we are not perfect. We can always do better. God knows us. Our job is to come to know ourselves and use that knowledge to become better persons, the persons God created us to be. That takes a lifetime!
It has been said that when we see something “wrong” with another person, it is probably the very thing that is not so great about us. So, the next time you judge another person, look within yourself and see if you aren’t guilty of the same thing. Ask God’s forgiveness for judging the other and for help in overcoming your own faults.