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Theology for the common man

30 Sunday in Ordinary Time C

Sunday, October 27, 2019

"Although God knows no favorites”, the author of the Book of Sirach reminds us, however He has a special regard for the oppressed, the weak, the orphan, the widow, when they pour out their complaints. “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraws till the Most High responds, judges justly and affirms the right, and the Lord will not delay.” It is a way of introduction, to understand the theme of today's gospel. In a descriptive way, using the parables, so liked by Jesus, He explains who is really embraced by the mercifulness of God. He gives two examples of the people praying in the temple as two kinds of people standing before God: one of a Pharisee, with an attitude full of pride and insolence; the second of a conscious sinner, a tax collector, full of humility and contrition. As a matter of fact, in the first situation there is no need of God because the Pharisee suffices to himself. He just uses occasions, positions, and money to set up himself despising others. He treats God as a witness of his boasts and successes asking Him to listen to him and for sure expecting from Him to receive a reward. The second attitude of a tax collector, before God’s presence in the temple, is worthy to follow, because the man full of sadness, humility, and contrition, acknowledges his errors and sins and wants to come back to God. He feels he is not worthy to stand in the presence of God and asks for His forgiveness. We are not surprised why God has chosen the tax collector and his attitude because only in this way can we express the necessity of the merciful forgiveness of God and his gracious presence in our life. We have access to this forgiveness and divine mercy in Jesus Christ and His sacraments upon this attitude to be moderate and humble, as in this way, we have to remember, “whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”