October 27, 2019 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Fr Andy Upah

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Reading 1 SIR 35:12-14, 16-18

Responsorial Psalm PS 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23

Reading 2 2 TM 4:6-8, 16-18

Alleluia 2 COR 5:19

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
and entrusting to us the message of salvation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 18:9-14


Homily for Nativity on the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the Gospel today, Jesus gives us a parable with two people who are in prayer, a Pharisee and a Tax Collector, and the Pharisee, in prayer, tries to justify himself by comparing himself to the Tax Collector. 

Comparing ourselves to others is one of the biggest tricks of the devil.  And it is difficult, we often compare ourselves, especially athletically, or academically, or we compare our situations, or we compare our status.  This is made worse by Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram where it seems like we only see the best of people’s lives. 

But comparing ourselves spiritually like this Pharisee is doing is especially problematic.  We are all on our own spiritual path.  My relationship with God is different from everyone else’s relationship here, and not just because I am a priest, it is because it is a relationship.   

Just like we know every relationship we have is different, like if You and I have a mutual friend, but our relationship is different, in the same way our relationship with God is different from one another too. God is the mutual friend we all share. 

So, there is no reason to compare ourselves spiritually.  Rather, we should be honest with ourselves about where we are at and where we need to improve, in our lives and in our relationships.  

If we see someone that we think is a lot holier than us, we might let that push us to be holier ourselves, but we should also realize that they have their own struggles in their lives, we just might not see it.  

Similarly, when we see someone who seems to be living the wrong way, like this tax collector, we shouldn’t use that to justify our own actions.  That’s what this Pharisee was doing, but he didn’t know the contrition in the tax collectors heart and his desire to change and grow in holiness. 

Jesus says the Pharisees were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.  This cannot be our attitude towards sinners, or people that don’t go to Church, or people that don’t meet our standards. 

If we find ourselves judging that way, we should pray for them, but then we should just take a better look at our life and our relationship with God and how we can grow in holiness.   

Because, let’s be honest, we all have our own issues, nobody is perfect like it appears they are on Instagram, everyone is on their own path, everyone is growing in their relationship with God. 

In that first reading Sirach said “The LORD is a God of justice, who knows no favorites.  Though not unduly partial toward the weak, yet he hears the cry of the oppressed.” and further Sirach says, “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds;  it does not rest till it reaches its goal,  nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds, judges justly and affirms the right.” 

The Lord doesn’t play favorites, the prayer of the lowly is heard in heaven, and he judges with fairness.  God knows everyone is in different situations, and that is how he judges us, he doesn’t judge us against one another or compare us against each other, so we shouldn’t compare ourselves against each other either. 

May God help us to know the ways we need to grow in holiness and bless us as we grow in our relationship with Him.