for Sunday, October 24, 2010
God listens to all of us. God is God and is capable of listening to all of
us. We are not God. Not only do we not listen to one another, often we
pay no attention to ourselves. We can be so like the man in the Gospel
who, instead of praying, tells God how good he is.
The Book of Sirach, part of the wisdom tradition in scriptural writings
and from which comes our first reading today, tells us of the experience of
our ancestors in the faith: God listens to all but especially to the poor
and the powerless. The way to strengthen our prayer is through recognizing
our lowliness and helplessness and then asking our Lord from that place of
The Second Letter to Timothy also touches on this theme. Saint Paul found
himself abandoned by all his friends and companions and the Lord stayed
with him and helped him. Part of being lowly seems also to forgive all who
offend us and to ask for their good. Why do the poor and the lowly always
seem to be able to forgive while so often those who have power and wealth
seem unable to do so?
Today's Gospel passage from Saint Luke puts contrasts starkly these two
basic attitudes to God: I have done all right so hear my prayer and I am
nothing and don't deserve your attention but I still ask you. It is
interesting that neither the Pharisee nor the tax collector is asking anything in particular. Rather,
their prayer is simply speaking with the Lord. The Pharisee truly asks for
nothing but the tax collector asks for mercy.
We don't want to become overly self - conscious in prayer, but perhaps
occasionally it is a good thing to be aware of how we pray and for what we
ask. Are we at least somewhat aware of the truth of our before this God
who loves us to intensely and yet who is still the Almighty and Eternal
God? Are we able to converse with this God with total confidence because
of our lowliness and because of His compassionate omnipotence?
Come, let us bow down and worship the Lord. Come, let us place all that
we have in His hands. Let us come into the presence of the Lord, for He
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