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WSC Reflection October 23, 2022

October 23, 2022 – 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Cycle C, Year II)
Community Word: True followers of Christ live a life of unwavering faith.
Theme: We live a life of unwavering faith when we acknowledge our nothingness before God.
Promise: “…the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Lk 18:14b)
The message of the parable brings to mind a core spiritual understanding in the life and teachings of Jesus. Before God, there is no room for pride or arrogance. No one has reason for self-glorification. We are all unprofitable servants. The parable is addressed by Jesus to people who consider themselves virtuous, or righteous. Rather than trusting in God, and establishing a right relationship with Him, they trust in themselves, leading to self-righteousness instead of righteousness. The result is a misguided focus on the ego and disrespect for others.
Self-righteousness often leads to arrogance and self-importance. God sees the disposition of our hearts and judges us accordingly. Walking humbly is what the Lord requires of us, and it is what brings His blessings upon us. It is in walking humbly that we exhibit a life of unwavering faith.
In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus gives us an object lesson in humility and prayer through two men, one, a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. They had gone to the temple to pray, but the Pharisee stood praising himself, while the tax collector stood at a distance, not even daring to look up, and beating his breast acknowledged his sinfulness before God. Of the two Jesus says: “I tell you that this man (the tax collector), rather than the other (the Pharisee) went home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14).
The parable teaches us that when we pray, we should humble ourselves before God, acknowledging our helplessness and total dependence upon Him for whatever good we may accomplish. We place ourselves completely at His mercy, confessing our sinfulness and that we are truly nothing without Him. Let us pray in a spirit of repentance, and in all humility. When we come into the realization of who we truly are, God can be for us what He truly is.
We are all sinners, unworthy to approach God. But we come to Him through our Savior, Jesus Christ. How? There are numerous ways, of course, but one of the most effective is simply through the process of transforming our minds and living out our unwavering faith as followers of Christ.
In many ways we are like the Pharisee; we look down on others. When we do good works, we expect to be credited for it. Sometimes in an outburst of holiness, we pray for the “conversion of sinners,” imagining ourselves to be better than those for whom we pray, putting them down in the process. The only way to avoid being a Pharisee is to follow Paul’s advice to the Philippians, “In humility, regard others as better than yourselves,” (Phil 2:3).
With genuine righteousness we should pray as the tax collector did, “Oh God, be merciful to me, a sinner,” (Lk 8:13), as we give thanks to God for promise of this week – “The one who humbles himself will be exalted,” (Lk 18:14b).
God of our salvation, continue to guide us, especially when we stray into paths of self-righteousness. Keep us from comparing ourselves to others, especially those whom we consider to be less worthy than ourselves. Rescue us from the evil of pride that keeps us apart from you and from others. We humble ourselves before you and our fellowmen, all for your name sake. Amen.
Reflection Guide Questions:

  1. In my relationship with others, in what ways have I been like the Pharisee in the gospel?
  2. How do I overcome my self-righteousness and tendency to consider myself better than others?
    This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
    October 23, 2022 (Sun) – Sir 35:12-14,16-18/ Ps 34:2-3,17-19,23/ 2 Tim 4:6-8,16-18/ Lk 18:9-14
    October 24, 2022 (Mon) – Eph 4:32 – 5:8/ Ps 1:1-4,6/ Lk 13:10-17
    October 25, 2022 (Tue) – Eph 5:21-33/ Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5/Lk 13:18-21
    October 26, 2022 (Wed) – Eph 6:1-9/ Ps 145:10-14/ Lk 13:22-30
    October 27, 2022 (Thu) – Eph 6:10-20/ Ps 144:1, 2, 9, 10/ Lk 13:31-35
    October 28, 2022 (Fri) – Eph 2:19-22/ Ps 19:2-5/ Lk 6:12-16
    October 29, 2022 (Sat) – Phil 1:18-26/ Ps 42:2, 3, 5/ Lk 14:1, 7-11
    “Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

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