October 23, 2016: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.” (Luke 18:9-14)
In this gospel story, Jesus is trying to teach his followers about prayer and our relationship with God. And it’s all about humility – knowing truthfully who we are in God’s sight. In our prayer we don’t need to tell God what we think our good points are, God already knows us through and through. We just need to be before God as we are and recognize the love and mercy God has for us. We just need to be with God and thank God for his many gifts, particularly for giving us life and for guiding us in the ways of truth.
This week be simple in your prayer – try not to compare yourself with others – just be with God and know God desires us to be the best we can be.