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Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

22 October 2016

Reflecting on Lk. 18: 9-14

The Pharisee and the tax collector have something sacred to teach us. We must hold it close. To realize that we might actually be the Pharisees, the ones who think (secretly, of course) that we are more deserving of God’s mercy than anyone else, is a grace in itself. The surest and quickest passage to God’s mercy is to be profoundly aware of our need of it. I’ll bet that most readers immediately identify with the humble “sinner,” never realizing that the Pharisee is much closer to their true identity.

Try to remember a time when you were humbled by sin. Maybe one of the deadly sins has you in its vise, and a lifetime of wrath, for example, finds you banging on the hood of somebody’s stalled car at rush hour. Or maybe, like me, you are intentionally blind to the deadly sin of greed, so that a lifetime of using far more resources than the rest of the world gets to have has made you dependent and weak.

It’s a precious gift to be humbled, to bow before God and say, “Lord, I thank you that I’ve finally been found out. I thank you that the world now knows what you’ve known all along. I want to change more than I want to keep up the charade of being less sinful than I am. I humbly realize that I’m not fooling anybody, especially not you. Be merciful to me, a sinner.” Recognizing and naming our sinfulness doesn’t feel good, but it changes us. It nudges us a bit closer to heaven, where sinners are welcomed home every day.

How has the awareness of sin in my life changed me?

Kathy McGovern ©2016

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