30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 23, 2016 – Year C
Readings: Sir 35:12-14, 16-18 / Psalm 34 / 2 Tm 4:6-8, 16-18 /Lk 18:9-14
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
During one of the breaks at last week’s Priests’ Convocation, I was talking to Fr. Jay who absolutely loves the game of golf. It reminded me of 9 years ago when he was trying to convince me to learn how to play golf. I asked him to give me one good reason to spend several hours learning how to hit a small white ball with a long stick. In reply, he said, “Golf teaches you the virtue of humility.” And so I said, “Monday is my day off; I’ll see you on the course.” The rest is history.
The famous golfer Lee Trevino was once asked by a reporter if he prayed before making a putt. He answered, “Yes, but I don’t pray that I’ll make the putt; I pray that I’ll say the right words if I miss the putt.”
It is said that a person who knows how to pray is humble because the person knows that he/she needs God. This may not be the most accurate way to describe ‘humble’, but it is certainly a good start. In today’s Gospel, Jesus describes the importance of the virtue of humility. Interestingly enough, both the Pharisee and the tax collector were praying in the Temple; but the tax collector, who was despised by many, was humble enough to ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness, while the Pharisee was just using God as a sounding board for his self-glorification.
The Church Fathers have said for a long time that humility is the foundation of all prayer. The fact that we are here in the sanctuary of Holy Name of Mary is an expression of our humility because, during this Eucharistic celebration, we are humble enough to ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness, to ask for God’s guidance, and to ask Him to give us strength to always say “YES” to Him and “NO” to sin. As we go forth after this Mass, we should continue to ask the Lord to give us the grace to cultivate the strength of the virtue of humility in each of us; for this will make all our prayers effective.
As the book of Sirach puts it in today’s first reading, “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds, and it does not rest until it reaches its goal.”