An Honest, Humble Spirit

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 23, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, in our readings:

  • Sirach assures us that the prayer of the humble reaches the ear of God
  • Paul readies himself for death
  • Jesus gives us one of his most memorable parables. 

The thread running through all of these? Humility- that beautiful virtue which allows us to be who we truly are before God and humanity.

Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else. 
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. 
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector. 

Oh my goodness friends, how many times – at meetings or dinners — have we been with “the Pharisees”, such as Jesus describes? They are so unsure and unaware of their true value in God, that they begin to create an illusion of their greatness to protect their fear.

We know the statements (or attitudes) by heart. Sometimes, they’re harmless, and our listeners see through them right away.


But there are other statements, such as the Pharisee’s, that are not harmless. By falsely aggrandizing the self, these statements and attitudes degrade and dehumanize the other. But perhaps most importantly, they delude the speaker himself so that his ability to see his true worth in God is blocked by his false pride.

Paul, sensing the death’s approach, has a much more honest and humble self-evaluation:

I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
which the Lord, the just judge,
will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.

It’s really sad to miss the whole point of one’s true greatness: that we are beloved and redeemed by God – just like every Creature! That we are called, in that belovedness , to serve God in our sisters and brothers. Knowing this inalienable truth is the source of all humility, courage, joy, and perseverance in faith. It is the whole reason we were created. What a tragedy to, like the Pharisee, never realize how divinely great we really are!

Let us pray with Paul and the humble tax collector today. “O God, be merciful to me a sinner – a redeemed, grateful, and joyful sinner.”

Let us use for our poetry today’s beautiful Psalm 34.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
whose praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.

The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress they are rescued.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit God saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of these servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in our God.

Music: Miserere Mei – Gregorio Allegri 

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