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Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 28, 2007 - Year: C
Sir 35:15-17, 20-22; 2 Tim 4:6-8, 16-18; Lk 18:9-14
The Reward of the humble
"The Lord is the judge, and within him there is no
partiality. He will not show partiality to the poor but
he will listen to the prayer of one who is wronged. The
Lord will not ignore the supplication of the orphan, or
the widow when she pours out her complaint.
The one whose service is pleasing to the Lord will be
accepted, and the prayer of such a person will reach to
The prayer of the humble pierces the clouds, and it will
not rest until it reaches its goal; it will not desist
until the Most High responds and does justice for the
righteous, and executes judgment. Indeed, the Lord will
not delay." [Sir. 35:15-17, 20-22]
"As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation,
and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the
good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the
From now on there is reserved for me the crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will
give me that day, and not only to me but also to all who
have longed for his appearing.
At my first defence no one came to my support but all
deserted me. May it not be counted against them!
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that
through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all
the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save
me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever
and ever. Amen." [2 Tim. 4:6-8, 16-18]
"Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in
themselves that they were righteous, and regarded others
'Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee
and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by
himself, was praying thus, 'God I thank you that I am
not like other people thieves, rogues, adulterers, or
even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I
give a tenth of all my income.'
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even
look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and
saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'
I tell you, this man went back home justified rather
than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be
humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."
I visited a family late in the evening. It was a tiring
evening after visiting families and climbing the
staircases and getting back. When I rang the bell the
woman came out and welcomed me. She said “baba is about
to sleep and has gone to his bedroom, and he is
praying”. I was curious, and said, shall I just hear him
praying? “Yes” she said, and I slowly tip toed towards
the bedroom and there I could hear the 5 year old lad
praying “My God, I love you, and I pray for my daddy who
is far away, keep him healthy, happy and joyful; I am
praying for my Mom, keep her happy, and tell her not to
scold me; I am praying for my teacher who is very nice
to me, but at times she gives more attention to the girl
in my class than me. Please help her to show me a bit
more of love. God, my Father, I pray take care of all
people, help poor people to get bread, shelter and help
those who are sick. God, my Father, please take care of
yourself too, you see, if something happens to you, we
are gone. Amen”.
In this little prayer, I was inspired
very much. God help me to be like that little lad. Amen
Luke 18, 1: The
objective of the first parable
introduces this parable with the phrase: “on the need to
pray continually and never lose heart”. In other
passages he insists in the same way on perseverance in
prayer and on the need to believe that God hears our
prayer and responds to our petitions. Faith in God which
responds to our petitions is the red thread which
pervades the whole Bible, where, from Exodus it is
ceaselessly repeated that “Go hears the cry of His
People” (Ex 2, 24; 3, 7).
Luke 18, 2:
Description of the attitude of the Judge
wishes to clarify for those who listen to him, which is
the attitude of God before our prayer. For this, in
speaking of the judge, he thinks of God the Father who
is the end of the comparison which he is making. If it
were not Jesus, we would not have the courage to compare
God with a judge “who neither has fear of God nor
respect for anyone”. This audacious comparison, made by
Jesus himself, strengthens, on the one hand, the
importance of perseverance in prayer and, on the other,
the certainty of being heard by God the Father.
Luke 18, 3: The
attitude of the widow before the judge
attitude of the widow before the judge we have the
situation of the poor in society at the time of Jesus.
Widows and orphans had no one to defend them and their
rights were not respected. The fact that Jesus compares
our attitude with that of the poor widow, without anyone
to defend her, who seeks to claim her rights before a
judge who has no human sensibility, shows Jesus’
sympathy for poor persons who insistently struggle to
claim their rights.
Luke 18, 4-5: The reaction of the
judge before the widow
judge ends by giving in before the insistence of the
widow. He does justice not out of love for justice, but
in order to free himself from the widow who continually
Luke 18, 6-8:
Jesus applies the parable
draws the conclusion: If an atheistic and dishonest
judge pays attention to a widow who insists on her
petition, how much more will God, the Father, listen to
those who pray to him night and day, even if he makes
them wait. This is the central point of the parable,
confirmed by the final question of Jesus: “When the
Son of man comes, will he find any faith on earth?·
That is, will our faith be so persistent as that of the
widow, who resists without losing heart, until she
obtains God’s answer? Because as the Ecclesiasticus
says: “It is difficult to resist the expectation of
Luke 18, 9:
Those to whom the second parable is addressed
second parable of the Pharisee and the Tax collector is
introduced in the second phrase: “He spoke the following
parable to some people who prided themselves on being
upright and despised everyone else!” The phrase of Luke
refers simultaneously, to the time of Jesus and to the
time of Luke. Then, in the communities of the years
80’s, to which Luke addressed his Gospel, there were
some holding fast to the ancient tradition of Judaism
which despised those who lived in Paganism (cf. Acts 15,
Luke 18, 10:
This introduces the theme of the parable
men went up to the Temple to pray: one was a Pharisee
and the other a Tax collector. There could be no greater
contrast between these two. In the opinion of the people
of that time, a tax collector was worth nothing and
could not address himself to God, because he was an
impure person, in so far as a tax collector, while the
Pharisee was an honoured person and a very religious
Luke 18, 11-12:
It describes how the Pharisee prays
Pharisee prays standing up and thanks God because he is
not like others: thieves, dishonest, adulterous. His
prayer is nothing else than praising himself and the
things he does: he fasts and pays tithes on all he gets.
It is an exaltation of his good qualities and the
contempt of others, whom he despises, especially the tax
collector who is together with him in the same place. He
does not consider him as his brother.
Luke 18, 13: It
describes how the tax collector prays
tax collector does not dare even to raise his eyes, but
he beats his heart and says: “My God, be merciful to me,
a sinner!” He takes his place before God.
Luke 18, 14:
Jesus gives his opinion on both parables
Jesus had asked the people, who returned home justified,
all would have answered: “The Pharisee!” But Jesus
thinks differently. The one who returns justified (in a
good relationship with God) is not the Pharisee, but
rather the tax collector. Once again, Jesus turns
everything the other way round. Perhaps this application
made by Jesus of the parable did not please many
Extending the information:
first Christians present us with an image of Jesus
praying, who lived in permanent union with the
Father. The breathing of the life of Jesus was to do
God’s Will (Jn 5,19). Jesus prayed very much and
insisted so that the people and his disciples also pray.
Because it is in our relation with God that truth
emerges and that the person finds herself in all reality
The two parables reveal something of the prayerful
attitude of Jesus before the Father. They reveal that
even for Him it was not always easy. Like the widow you
must insist very much, as it is also seen in the prayer
made in the Garden of Olives (Lk 22,41-42). He insisted
up until death, He did not lose heart and he was heard (Hb
5,7). The two parables also reveal his experience and
intimacy with God as Father who accepts all and whose
love has gratuity as a central mark. God’s love for us
does not depend on what we do for Him. He has loved us
first. He accepts the tax collector.
iii) Luke is the Evangelist who gives us more
information about the life of prayer of Jesus. He
presents Jesus in constant prayer. The following are
some moments in which Jesus appears in prayer in the
Gospel of Luke:
* When he is twelve years old, he goes to the Temple, to
the house of the Father (Lk 2,46-50).
the moment of being baptized and of assuming his
mission, he prays (Lk 3,21).
he begins his mission, he spends forty days in the
desert (Lk 4, 1-2).
the hour of temptation, he faces the Devil with the
texts from Scripture (Lk 4,3-12).
usually participates in the celebrations in the
Synagogue on Saturday (Lk 4,16).
seeks solitude in the desert to pray (Lk 5,16; 9,18).
choosing the twelve apostles, he spends the night in
prayer (Lk 6,12)
prays before meals (Lk 9,16; 24,30).
speaking about reality and of his passion, he prays (Lk
time of crisis, on the Mountain to pray and he is
transfigured while he prays (Lk 9, 28)
revealing the Gospel to the little ones, he says:
“Father, I thank you!” (Lk 10,21)
praying, he awaken in the Apostles the will to pray (Lk
prays for Peter so that he may be strong in faith (Lk
He celebrates the Passover Supper with
his disciples (Lk 22,7-14).
the Garden of Olives, he prays, and sweat becomes drops
of blood (Lk 22,41-42).
the anguish of the agony he asks his friends to pray
with him (Lk 22,40.46).
the hour of being nailed on the cross, he asks pardon
for those who do not know what they are doing (Lk
the hour of death, he says: “Into your hands I commend
my spirit!” (Lk 23,46; Ps 31, 6).
This long list indicates everything which follows. For
Jesus, prayer was intimately united to life, to concrete
facts, to the decisions which he had to take. In order
to be faithful to the Father’s project, he tried to
remain alone with him. He listened to him. In the
difficult and decisive moments of his life, Jesus prayed
the Psalms. Just like any pious Jew, he knew them by
heart. But the recitation of the Psalms does not take
away his creativity. Rather, Jesus composed himself a
Psalm which he has transmitted to us. It is the Our
Father. His life was a permanent prayer: “I always
seek the will of the Father!” (Jn 5,19.30). To him is
applied what the Psalm says “I am in prayer!” (Ps
The Final Punch:
When Minister Joe Wright was asked to
open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was
expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they
“Heavenly Father, we come before you
today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction
We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who
call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done.
We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our
We have exploited the poor and called it
We have rewarded laziness and called it
We have killed our unborn and called it
choice. We have shot abortionists and called it
We have neglected to discipline our
children and called it building self esteem.
We have abused power and called it
politics. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions
and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity
and pornography and called it freedom of speech and
expression. We have ridiculed the time honored values
of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts
today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!”
The response was immediate. A number of
legislators walked out during the prayer in protest.
In 6 short weeks, Central Christian
Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than
5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding
negatively. The church is now receiving international
requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa
Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer
on his radio program, “The Rest of the Story,” and
received a larger response to this program than any
other he has ever aired.
With the Lord’s help, may this prayer
sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our
desire so that we again can be called “one nation under
If possible, please pass this prayer on
to your friends. “If you don’t stand for something, you
will fall for anything.”
New book from Fr. Rudy :
Short review of the book: This book is an out come of a
serious exegetical study on the important words and
texts from the writings of St John of the Cross. The
study deals with a short life and writings of the mystic
and then does a complete study on GOD, MAN and WAYS to
EXPERIENCE GOD. The book is available at: St. Joseph
Church, Near Holy Cross Convent School, Mira Road East,
Thane Dt. Maharashtra State - 401 107, India. Books can
be ordered through email:
The cost of the book is Rs.
125/- pp.xviii + 234, The Title of the Book is: THE
DYNAMISM OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH - An Exegetical Study on
St. John of the Cross, author: Dr. Rudolf V. D' Souza,
OCD, MA. PhD.
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