Sirach 35: 12-14, 16-18
2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 16-18
Luke 18: 9-14
To those who believe themselves just, Jesus tells a parable that puts a Pharisee and a Publican on the stage. The Pharisee is self-centered and convinced of his good conscience, while the Publican simply puts his trust in God. Jesus concludes the parable with a dictum which gives us the key of interpretation: Whoever raises himself up will be humbled. For the proud who are sure of their personal worth, God can do nothing; mercy finds no opening through which to pass. Already Mary sang of God who casts his eyes on the lowliness of his servant (1, 48); and the the Letter to the Philippians proclaims Jesus who humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death (2, 8). Christ lowered himself; God raised him on high. Those who humble themselves will be raised up. Jesus reveals that our God is the God of the humble, of those who acknowledge their need of salvation. Blessed are we if we are among those who do not need to hide their limitations, nor to show off their talents. Blessed are we if we see ourselves as sinners and implore Gods forgiveness.
The Pharisee in the parable esteems that he is better than the Publican, than the man whose reputation is that of a servant of the occupier, who is considered a thief. In declaring that the Publican, rather than the self-assured Pharisee, is just, Jesus reveals a God who sees mens hearts, who understands their deep-down intentions and who welcomes the prayer of anyone who stands in truth before God. Ben Sirach had said: The Lord is a just judge who makes no differences among men. Blessed are we if our prayer is not a monologue of self-justification and is also respectful of others.
The humility which expresses itself in confident prayer and which also allows us to situate ourselves and others in truth before the Creator, is the gift that we can ask for today, for ourselves and for each other
—Sr. Sophie Ramond, R.A.