Homily – October 27, 2019

The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds and it will not rest until it reaches its goal. Today’s gospel speaks for itself and warns about thinking we are better than other people.

The fact is the Pharisee and the tax collector was telling the truth about themselves. The Pharisee fasted twice a week whereas the Law required fasting only one day of the year. He was a generous supporter of the Temple. He should have stopped there.

The tax collector told the truth about himself. Tax collectors had friends in low places. They made their money by over -charging people. He was a cheat, an exploiter, a sinner. The prayers of this honest sinner pierced the heavens.

The Pharisee was a sinner as well but he preferred to boast about the good he did instead of admitting his faults. He was the centre of his prayer not God. He saw himself as a self- made saint. He blew it when he thanked God he was not other people, thieves, rogues, adulterers and tax collectors; the riftraths of society.

The tax collector knew he was a bad lot, he didn’t fudge his faults. His simple prayer was, ’Lord be merciful to a sinner. He threw himself on the mercy of God and was embraced by God.

The Apostle Paul knew he was a sinner, a persecutor of the church until Christ entered his life. He said of himself, by God grace I am what I am and his grace in me has not been in vain.

We all are blessed in one way or another with different gifts and talents. Being humble does not mean putting ourselves down, belittling the gifts we’re given. Our gifts and talents are gifts from God, gifts given to be shared with other people and be willing to rejoice with them and the gifts with which they’ve been blessed. Prayer that puts other people down I s not prayer at all. Our blessed mother was truly humble when she said, ‘He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.’

We can continue to celebrate our Mass thanking God we are like the rest of those around us, mistake making beings who live with our daily struggle; the good that we would we do not and the evil that we would not do, that we do. We all need God’s guidance , help and forgiveness. Admitting that we can leave here ‘justified’ which means we are in a right relationship with God and one another.