Reflection on Scripture Thirtieth Sunday Gospel C Gratitude for mercy

By 10:56 AM

 Thirtieth Sunday Gospel C

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.  

· Have we found ourselves at times falling into this same mind-set?

"Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.  

· Jesus was fond of using extreme ends of the spectrum to show the contrast. Here we have the externally devoted religious person and the external public sinner.

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.’ 

· Do you hear the self-righteousness of the Pharisee? The focus was on him. His religious works gives him superiority in his eyes over others. It is almost like God should be grateful to him rather than seeing his need for God.

· “Took up his position” Where do you think he stood in the Temple to pray? Why do you think he took that position? Was he there to satisfy himself or God?

o He presumed that his adherence to traditional forms of external piety is an automatic guarantee of divine blessing. He sadly overlooked his need for God’s mercy.

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.' 

· What opposite position did the tax collector take? Where did the truth lie between their two positions and words?

o He recognized that he was a sinner. So he pleaded for mercy from God, not as a merit but as a gift.

· Our sinfulness is greater than our deeds of goodness many times. If, as we believe that God sees the heart, do you understand the attitude we need to have when we come before the Lord in prayer?

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."

· If humility is truth, what is Jesus saying? We can impress others, but God sees us as we are. Even the Pharisee was a sinner in need of the mercy of God. In that sense he and the tax collector were on the same level before God. What made the difference was one recognized his need for God’s mercy and the other did not.

· How do we apply this parable to our own way of life before God and others?

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