Jesuit Father Flavien Zolabi introduces us to meditation, with the readings for the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time of liturgical year C.
Readings: Sir 35,12-18; 2 Tim 4.6-18; Lk 18,9-14: “the prayer of the poor”
Dear brothers and sisters, today we celebrate the thirtieth Sunday in ordinary time of liturgical year C. The first reading, taken from the book of Ben Sirac the Wise (35,15-22), comes from a small set of teachings on authentic prayer of the believer. The Sage affirms there the solicitude of God towards the poor, particularly the oppressed, the orphan and the widow; those who have no other recourse than God himself. And, as the psalmist also sings (Ps 33,7), the Sage affirms that when the poor cry out to him with humility and with all his heart, God listens to him and saves him.
The second reading is taken from the second letter of Saint Paul the Apostle to Timothy. In this type of testament the apostle uses a sporting image to describe his Christian existence: after having fought the good fight, he has reached the end of his race and awaits his reward from God alone. Paul does not boast of his own efforts. On the other hand, he recognizes that it is Christ who has assisted and empowered him so that, through him, the gospel may be proclaimed in all the heathen nations.
As gospel we read the famous parable of the Pharisee and the publican that Saint Luke tells us (18,9-14). The two men have prayer in common: both go to the temple to pray to God. But they are distinguished by their attitudes and the content of their prayers. The first man, the Pharisee, upright, too sure of himself, conscious of being perfect and contemptuous of others, displays the list of his own merits: he respects the prohibitions prescribed by the Law, he is generous because he fasts twice a week and he tithes everything he earns. He therefore presents himself before God as a religiously respectful Jew to whom nothing can be reproached; it is correct and just. On the other hand, the second character, the publican, is in an attitude of humility and indignity before God. He stands at a distance, doesn’t even dare raise his eyes to the sky, but hits his chest. And his prayer contains only a simple vow of his poverty and his fragility: “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner”. He is not a man who is complacent or self-glorifying. But rather the man of faith who abandons himself to the merciful love of the Father. And, Jesus declares that when this publican returned home, it was he who had become righteous, and not the Pharisee. Jesus reminds us that man does not become just by himself, thanks to his good works; but that it is God who makes just out of pure love.
Dear brothers and sisters, Saint Luke tells us in the introduction to this parable that Jesus pronounced it for certain men who were convinced of being just and who despised others. The attitude of the Pharisee and his prayer undoubtedly make us understand that it is for them that Jesus tells this parable. However, this does not remain a distant story for us. On the other hand, it invites us to question ourselves about our way of leading our Christian existence. Let us simply ask ourselves which of these two characters do we often identify with in the depths of our hearts. May the Lord himself help us to shed this light on our own lives.
We wish to say thanks to the writer of this short article for this incredible material
Meditation for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time C: “The authentic prayer of the believer” – Vatican News
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