It amazes me how the Word of God remains relevant in every generation! This to me is an indication that Scripture is indeed the LIVING Word of God. What we read in Scripture is not just old text or ancient stories with advice for its readers. It is so much more! It is truly God with us. And within Scripture we find a road map, if you will, to guide our time on this earth, to lead us in right ways, to challenge and to affirm our actions and our thoughts. Today’s Gospel is no exception. Jesus addressed the people with the parable of two people who went up to the temple to pray: The righteous Pharisee thanking God that he is not like the rest of humanity; greedy, dishonest, adulterous – rather he has done everything right and wasted no time in his prayer to mention how he fasts and tithes his income, as opposed to this “tax collector” beside him.
And the tax collector in his prayer, raising his eyes to heaven and praying; “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” The parable ends with the news that it was the tax collector who went home justified, not the Pharisee, for the tax collector humbled himself before God in prayer rather than raising himself as a such a grand example of righteousness like the Pharisee did. So even though we follow God’s law, live by Church teaching, reach out in love to the poor and the stranger – that does not buy us eternity. The beauty of a relationship with Jesus, is that he knows our heart. And the most fearful thing about a relationship with
Jesus, is that he knows our heart. We can appear to others that we are doing all the right things, but what about our innermost thoughts?
Are we judgmental? Do we think that we are better than another? Are we quick to criticize the actions of others? Do we believe we always know and do what is right? Do we place ourselves above others? Do we look down on the poor or the stranger? Do we treat all people as Jesus would? All of us, by this parable are called to humble ourselves before the Lord, our God. Let us pray: “Jesus, be merciful to me, a sinner!” In faith and hope,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC