|Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C |
October 27, 2013
This Sunday's Readings
God hears the prayer of the poor.
Psalm 34:2-3,17-18,19, 23
The Lord hears and answers the cry of the poor.
2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18
Paul perseveres in faith, confident that God will rescue him.
Jesus tells the parable of the proud Pharisee who prayed from his self-importance and the tax collector who prayed humbly.
Background on the Gospel Reading
The second parable that Jesus tells in Luke 18 addresses attitude in prayer. In contrasting the prayer of the Pharisee with the prayer of the tax collector, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray in humility before God. Jesus again surprises his listeners by showing the tax collector as the example of faith, rather than the Pharisee. Remember that Pharisees were members of a sect of Judaism active in Jesus' time. They taught an oral interpretation of the Law of Moses as the basis for Jewish piety. If anyone would be a model for prayer, a Pharisee was a likely candidate. In contrast, Jesus offers the tax collector as a model for prayer. Tax collectors were collaborators with the Roman authorities in a system that allowed the tax collectors to line their own pockets by charging in excess of the defined taxes. Yet, in this parable, Jesus offers the humility of the tax collector as a model for the prayer of a disciple. The parable reminds us that when we pray, we must remember our need for God in our lives. If we are too full of ourselves, there is too little room for God's grace to work in us.