Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 27, 2019 – Year C
Readings: Sir 35:12-14, 16-18 / Ps 34 / 2 Tm 4:6-8, 16-18 / Lk 18:9-14
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
A story is told about Frederick the Great, who was the king of Prussia from 1740 to 1786. One day he visited one of the prisons in his kingdom. As he went around, speaking to the prisoners, each of them claimed to be innocent. One told him that he was a victim of misunderstanding; another prisoner said that he was a victim of prejudice; and still another claimed that he was suffering as the result of injustice.
Finally, the king stopped at the cell of an inmate who remained silent. Frederick remarked, “I suppose you are innocent, too.”
“No, sir,” the man replied. “I am guilty, and I deserve to be here.”
Turning to the warden, the king said, “Warden, release this scoundrel at once, before he corrupts all these fine, innocent people in here.”
In the gospel that we have just heard, after the Lord Jesus related the parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector, He said: “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
In the Book of Sirach, which we heard in the first reading, God’s words tell us that the prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds. It does not rest until it reaches its goal.
These passages from the sacred scriptures are giving us the formula for an effective prayer. This is also how we should conduct ourselves all the time, as God’s children. Only the prayers of the humble, like those of the tax collector in the gospel of Luke, will be answered.
We are all aware of the fact that, at the very beginning of our celebration of the holy sacrifice of the Mass, which is the highest form of prayer, we ask God’s mercy and forgiveness. We humbly confess to Almighty God that we have sinned. After we pray, “Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy,” the priest says, “May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.”
That is our final goal: everlasting joy in the company of the heavenly angels and saints in God’s eternal kingdom. But as we continue our journey in this world, let us ask the Lord that we may be able to cultivate the virtue of humility, for this is what will make our prayer pierce the clouds and reach its goal.