First Reading: Sir 35:12-14, 16-18 The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds!
Responsorial Response: Ps 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23 The Lord hears the cry of the poor
An illuminating excerpt from The Word Engaged by John Kavanaugh, S. J. of Saint Louis University:
The holy souls, all those who know need, all those who know they are lost if they rely on their own powers, all those who know they cannot count on their own righteousness, are all we might aspire to be. Saints or sinners, no one of us is a self-made man or woman. To think so is a delusion. To want it is a false and dangerous dream.
The great and mighty Apostle Paul must have tasted this truth. What an achiever, what a worker he was. How great his triumphs. As we read in the Second Letter to Timothy, he “fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith.” But the righteousness reserved for him was ultimately given by his rescuer, his savior. He did not achieve it himself.
The race run is also mentioned in the letter to the Philippians. Paul entered that race only after he realized that all his accomplishments were so much rubbish and that he could no longer aspire to perfection by his own effort. A faultless Pharisee, having given up the pretense of being a self-made man, Paul learned the freedom of the poor soul who one day, in the back of the temple, could only mutter, “Lord, have mercy.”
Memory Verse: Every one that exalts himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbles himself, shall be exalted. Luke 18:14
Gospel Reflection from SadlierHow should we approach God in prayer? Jesus tells a wonderful parable today contrasting two ways of appearing before God.
- The Pharisee is proud and pleased with himself. He has "outdone" himself in abiding by religious laws. He looks down on others "less holy" than himself, and he believes that this alone will bring him salvation.
- But the tax collector really looks at himself. He admits that he is a sinner and begs God to have mercy on him. Because he humbles himself, the tax collector is raised high by God.
About the sinner who beats his breast and doesn’t dare raise his eyes to God, St. Augustine says:
"He makes himself his own judge and God pleads his cause; he accuses himself and God defends him."Rather than exalting himself like the Pharisee, the tax collector’s sin is “ever before” him, as in Psalm 51, the Miserere. He does not brag to God about his own narrow view of holiness, as the Pharisee does, but provides the words of contrition that form the simple Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, Savior, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Listen to a commentary on the readings by Mark Hart here Here is an edited excerpt:
"God does not judge us by our exterior appearance. . . . . when it comes to judgment, God is going to judge our heart.
[Although, keep in mind that] our exterior appearance is either going to reflect God or reflect the world. That is why we talk about things like, 'Do we dress modestly; do we act humbly? Do we do things and act in a way that points people back to God?'
Doesn't this commentary just sing to us to remember Micah 6:8 !?
Our exterior appearance is a reflection of our heart . . . the way that we carry ourselves & talk about ourselves and the way we point people or do not point people back to God.
Remember, we cannot presume to know someone else's heart or where they are in their faith walk. Everybody has their own cross to carry. Everyday is an opportunity to share your cross with another and to share your cross with Christ and to point others back to Him and His love.
Be mindful! Do not presume you are better off than you are and do not presume you're better than others. Just presume that God loves you no matter what. Rest and act in that love."
Before I close this post I want to let you know about another wonderful podcast commentary (w/ suggested contemporary music for this week's Mass) @ Spirit and Song
Prepare for the Mass
The Center for Liturgy at St Louis University
The Word Engaged; Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Liturgical Year C, Cycle II )
St Charles Borromeo Catholic Church – www.scborromeo.org
Catholic Doors Homilies
Loyola Press Sunday Connection
Catholic Calendar Page
Sadlier - We Believe
Mark Hart - podcast on readings