30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Pius X | News
25 Oct 2019

In today’s gospel, the Lord presents us with a picture of two people at prayer in the temple, one a pharisee, the other a tax collector.  Although this parable needs no explanation, it does merit some personal reflection if we are to apply the message that it contains to our lives.  This Gospel puts into words shameful attitudes that many of us possess but are reluctant to admit.  The strange thing is that, as we listen to the story, our sympathy goes out to the tax collector, whose broken heart has nothing to offer God except sorrow for his failings.  However, in real life we are more inclined to imitate the pharisee.  Our style of behavior may be less obvious but it’s there all the same.  It expresses itself in our thirst for recognition, in our desire to be centre stage and in our seeking out preferential treatment.  In everyday life when we boast, brag, put ourselves on pedestals and appear better than we are in reality, tinges of the pharisee emerge in our character.  We pride ourselves on our achievements and we forget that pride eats away at the core of the human heart.  It is only when we empty ourselves of pride that we come to realize how totally dependant we are upon God and can develop a reliance on him.  Prayer must come from a sincere and humble heart if it is to be heard.  This gospel contains a warning for all church-goers about the danger of becoming spiritually smug and of presenting ourselves as a deserving subject of God’s mercy because of the good works we have performed.