Saturday, October 23, 2010



OCTOBER 24, 2010

SIRACH 35:12-14, 16-18
For the Lord is a judge who is utterly impartial. He never shows
partiality to the detriment of the poor, he listens to the plea of the
injured party. He does not ignore the orphan's supplication, nor the
widow's as she pours out her complaint. Whoever wholeheartedly serves
God will be accepted, his petitions will carry to the clouds. The
prayer of the humble pierces the clouds: and until it does, he is not
to be consoled, nor will he desist until the Most High takes notice of
him, acquits the upright and delivers judgment.

SECOND TIMOTHY 4:6-8, 16-18
As for me, my life is already being poured away as a libation, and the
time has come for me to depart. I have fought the good fight to the
end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all
there is to come for me now is the crown of uprightness which the
Lord, the upright judge, will give to me on that Day; and not only to
me but to all those who have longed for his appearing. The first time
I had to present my defense, no one came into court to support me.
Every one of them deserted me -- may they not be held accountable for
it. But the Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the
message might be fully proclaimed for all the gentiles to hear; and so
I was saved from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from all
evil attempts on me, and bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To
him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

LUKE 18:9-14
He spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on
being upright and despised everyone else, 'Two men went up to the
Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The
Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, "I thank you,
God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like everyone else,
and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast
twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get." The tax collector stood some
distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he
beat his breast and said, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner." This
man, I tell you, went home again justified; the other did not. For
everyone who raises himself up will be humbled, but anyone who humbles
himself will be raised up.'

The Pharisee in the parable had his good and bad points.

First, the good points. The Pharisee was not a totally bad guy. He had
a lot going for himself. The record shows that he was honest and did
not cheat on his neighbor. He fasted twice a week. He gave 10% of his
income to God.

How are we in these departments? Would that we had the courage to
imitate the Pharisee in what spiritual writers call the Big Three:
prayer, fasting and good works. Then the world around us would be a
more delightful place to live in. Now let's check out the bad points
in today's famous gospel character. He was indeed a very proud man. He
was swept off his feet by his own importance. The Pharisee's prayer
consisted of flourishes and trumpets to his humble self. He was in
effect telling God that there were only two perfect people in the
world, himself and God. And he was entertaining very serious doubts
about God.

We should keep in mind that the word humility was born from the Latin
word humus, meaning earth. Thus humility demands that we stay close to
the earth, and more specifically, that we stay close to reality.

While listening to the Pharisee's prayer, we may have a strong
impression that we have nothing in common with this type of man, that
we are decidedly cast from another mold. Who among us, indeed, would
have the audacity of showing off before God our so-called merits in
such a proud and self-satisfied fashion? And yet, our reactions to
certain trials demonstrate clearly that we are not far from the
mentality of the Pharisee.

For, how do we spontaneously react to the death of a loved one, a
marriage ending in failure, a financial disaster, a serious illness?
Do we not say to ourselves: "What have I ever done to God to deserve a
thing like this? After all, I am a good Christian, I attended church
regularly, I donate to charities, I help my neighbor as best can, I am
devoted to my family, and now God sends me this blow. Does he not take
into consideration everything I do for him?" Basically, we reason
along the same lines as he does, and we claim to have the right to
some kind of consideration, given our past good behavior. Before God,
no one can boast of any claim whatever. No matter what we accomplish,
we are always fundamentally mere servants. To forget this is to give
in to pharisaism.

Now, in what way was the tax-collector genuinely humble and the
Pharisee undeniably proud? The Pharisee was forever casting glances
about him, either to look for admirers or spot victims. He compared
himself to others in all things. By doing so, it was easy for him to
find a lot of people less virtuous than himself. This is a well-known
defense mechanism. The moment we are assailed by doubts concerning our
merits or our worth, we always look around us and mistakenly we look
for people who apparently are far inferior to us. Such a comparison
reassures us. By looking downwards, one always succeeds in finding
shorter people. The tax-collector, on the other hand, was looking
neither downwards nor around him. He was looking directly upwards into
the eyes of a merciful and loving God and pleading for mercy.

True humility comes from setting our lives beside the life of God. No
doubt, all the Pharisee said was true. He did fast; he did
meticulously give tithes; he was not as our men are. But the questions
is not, "Am I as good as my fellowmen?" The question is, "Am I as good
as God?" It all depends what we compare ourselves with. And when we
set our lives beside the life of Jesus and beside the holiness of God,
all that is left to say is: "O God, be merciful to me, a sinner".

We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
… for the speedy recovery and healing of
- Angela, Hennie, Jesus, Norma, Don
- Susan
…In Thanksgiving: Marrion V. Ponce de Leon, Tarynn Ponce de Leon,
Shannon Ponce de Leon
… for the personal intentions of
- Luis Torres
- Josheil Dapo
- Familia Shelmed
- Donna
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Josie Morante
… for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers
and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!


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