Reflection for Sunday – October 23, 2016

Readings: Sirach 34: 12-14, 16-18; 2 Timothy 4: 6-18, 16-18; Luke 18: 9-14

Preacher: Fr. Bob Werth

With what attitude or stance do we approach God? What is the nature of our requests? When do we most need to connect? In times of joy? In times of sorrow? In times of loneliness? In times of confusion?

For me, it is the times of loneliness and confusion when I feel that I am out there all by myself.

The Gospel of Luke tells us today that the Pharisee’s style of prayer is unacceptable to God. He droned on about the details of his life, his rank, his merits, and his righteousness.

In stark contrast stood the tax collector, everyone’s outcast. The tax collector knew who he was. He did not bother God with his accomplishments, whatever they had been. He just mentioned his own need and his own emptiness.

The Pharisee did not know he was empty and in need; the tax collector did.
And what is God’s response to our prayer?

Listen to the excellent clues from Sirach: “The Lord… knows no favorites,…is not deaf to the wail of the orphan nor to the widow when she pours out her complaint. The one who serves God is willingly heard; his petition reaches the heavens. The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest ‘til it reaches its goal…and the Lord will not delay.”

It seems to me that we really can’t lose!

In summary, in regards to how we approach God, we can say that in the sanctuary of a person’s own inner self, all status symbols fall away; they
just don’t count. All persons stand before God as people in need, as people who have received every good thing. Being conscious of our needs, our weakness, our sinfulness, our dependence on God is the straightest and the sweetest connection we can make.

All indications are that our sensitive, compassionate and merciful God cannot resist this.

Fr. Bob Werth
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