CATHEDRAL OF ST. HELENA

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The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - A Word About the Word


Many times in these articles I have said that being a Catholic in today’s world is one of the most Counter-cultural things a person can do. Why? Our blessed Lord Jesus is always challenging us to break out of our paradigms and our worldly thinking and focus on our souls and spiritual matters. In today’s readings, it is our very pride that is being challenged. Over the last several weeks, our Lord has been teaching us about prayer. Today is a continuation of that theme. In our first reading from Sirach, we are told that our God shows no partiality in His judgment or in the prayers that are offered to Him. Rather, He looks at the heart and the humility of the one praying. In other words, our Lord sees behind the masks or the games we may tend to play, and directly into the heart of the individual. He knows what we need before we even ask, but it is in the act of asking, in our humility that He hears our prayers. St. Paul picks up on this as he compares our Catholic life to a race in which he has fought the good fight and a crown awaits him. We can learn from this passage that we have to “keep on keepin’ on” in order to make it to Heaven. Every day we need to re-dedicate ourselves to Christ. At the end of the day, we see where we may have fallen short; we repent and try to do better the next day. It is important that when we pray, we just don’t go through the motions, but that it comes from our very heart. It needs to be real. This brings us to this week’s Gospel. Here our Lord gives a short but powerful story, and notice who He is telling this to: It is written: “to those who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and they despised others”. Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The Pharisee is filled with pride and his prayers reflect that. We may tell ourselves that we are not like this Pharisee, but I know at times I have been a “judgmental joker” when I have looked at individuals even in Mass. It is something we all need to work on. The solution: leave your false pride at the door, make the sign of the cross, and be real with God. Pray with your heart and as you humble yourself, you will be exalted…Something to practice and think

upon…

May God richly bless you always…

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